47 - Angelic Conflict and World History
RDean/Daniel Lesson 47
Angelic Conflict and World History – Daniel 10:13-21
Daniel 10 is one of those chapters that gives us sort of a window, an opening, as to what actually goes on in history. One of the major issues, if you've ever gone beyond just studying basic history like you do in high school or Jr. high or most college courses into what is called historiography which is the philosophy or history; in studying history one of the major issues is always causation and the problem with all secular historians and almost every historiography or philosophy of history that dominates today is that they seek for causation of history within history. They look inside of history and you will have things like, for example, a Marxist interpretation of history which emphasizes certain economics, the downtrodden and the poor and things of that nature. Then on the other hand you have a more materialistic and deterministic causation of history; you have other approaches that emphasize geography, geographical factors, natural factors, such as whether or not a land has a lot of natural resources such as oil or gold or different minerals, things like that. And there are various different theories of causation but the Scripture presents a view that has a causation that is outside of creation itself and that the ultimate cause of history is God who controls history.
When we come to a chapter like Daniel 10 there is three basic problems that have confronted interpreters and confronted people and led to the distortions of the material. The first problem is the problem of the materialistic view of causation in history. We looked at social factors, economic factors, geographical factors, but what we discover in this chapter that history, what moves things forward in history is something much more complex, much more dynamic and that history itself has many different dimensions. One of the reasons we opt for a materialistic view is related to the second problem and that is there's an inherent rationalism and anti-supernatural bias in modern historiography and modern culture and that goes back to the early enlightenment in the 17th century, and in that anti-supernaturalism and rationalism there is an intentional exclusion of any kind of supernatural impact. Along with that, especially as rationalistic theology developed in the 19th century, there was a rejection of anything related to angels and the impact of angels in history, so that angels were just relegated to the realm of Christian mythology. And there's a rejection among rationalistic thinkers of anything supernatural, not only God but also and including angels.
But the third problem is just the opposite problem, and that's the problem of mysticism, and these are the folks who give undue emphasis to supernatural forces, especially the angels; these are the folks that find a demon behind every tree and see an angel everywhere. We've really seen the reaction, from the late 19th or mid 19th century up to the, let's say 1950s, very few people, I'm thinking in terms of the world system, were emphasizing angels in most Protestant evangelical denominations. In fact, the trend was to reduce Satan to just sort of a personification of evil force, there was no real person of Satan, there were no real demons; demon possession in the Bible was just some sort of antiquated primitive description of psychological disease and mental illness. There weren't really demons or demon possession. So the effect of rationalism was just to reject everything about the angels. And then we started seeing a reaction to that and go all the way to the other extreme, so that by the 1990s angels are hot stuff; you buy little angels in every store you go into, you have angels on greeting cards, television shows about angels, none of which has anything to do with what the Bible actually reveals about angels.
Then you go to many churches and you see the same kind of emphasis where everything boils down to some sort of angelic influence or demonic influence and so there are numerous problems with that. I want to read you some things out of a book called Three Crucial Questions about Spiritual Warfare by Clinton Arnold, and the author is the professor of New Testament language and literature and director of the ThM program at Talbot Seminary. Unfortunately his views in this book tell us how far Talbot has sunk into charismatic theology and false demonology. But I want you to get an understanding of what's going on out there, outside the walls of Preston City Bible Church.
One reason I'm doing that, I've been sort of impressed lately because of a conversation I had with a good friend of mine, he was a part-time attender of a church that was going through the process of looking for a pastor and it's an elder-ruled church and they had decided on a pastoral candidate and they had announced in the bulletin and said on such and such a date the pastoral candidate will be here to speak to the church and afterwards we'll vote to accept him. And they really didn't have any kind of interaction with the congregation or question and answer but he thought there might be an opportunity so he wanted me to tell him some questions. So I came up with five or six good questions that would reveal the guy's theological orientation in terms of free grace versus lordship and dispensationalism and some things like that. And he e-mailed me back and said those are good questions but what are the right answers. Now he really knew what the right answers like many of you but he would not it spot it in terms of the technical vocabulary.
So as I thought about that I reflected on the fact that part of the role of a pastor, obviously the pastor of that church who had been there for 30 years had not really trained his congregation to be able to function when he left. And no pastor…and this has application for parents, see the role that you have as a parent is to train your kids to be able to do without you; when they hit 18 they shouldn't need you any more, you should have done your job. Now whether or not they apply what you teach them, that's another story. But you should teach them and equip them so that they can function without you. You don't know when that's going to happen. The same thing is true for a pastor, I may be here in five years, I may be here in five months, I may be here in fifteen years, but I may not. I've had friends die of heart attacks at my age. So one never knows, you can't count on that. So part of my job as a pastor is to train you so that when that time comes you're able to spot the idiots that come along looking for a church. That's not too hard today because that's 99.9% of them. But I want to let you know some of the wonderful things that are going on out there in the real world, and this book, he starts off with this example.
He says: "The June 24, 1994 edition of the [can't understand words], a Guatemalan news magazine ran a cover story on this once popular idol." This is an idol named Maximon down in the city of [can't understand word] down in Guatemala. He says they ran this article titled "The defeat of Maximon. Protestant fundamentalism alters the culture of the [can't understand word] and turns the native religions into tourist attractions." Then the writer goes on to say, "For many years groups of Christians in the area had engaged in spiritual mapping and aggressive warfare prayer." Now I want you to notice that vocabulary so if you hear people talking that vocabulary your radar ought to start going off, bells and whistles and alarms, "spiritual mappings," where do you find that concept in the Scripture, "aggressive warfare prayer," see, what's happened in the charismatic movement and it's infiltrated throughout most of evangelicalism in the last 10 or 12 years is this radical aggressive spiritual warfare mentality. You'll see from what I read to you what's involved in that. These groups engaged in "spiritual mapping and aggressive warfare prayer against the territorial spirits," pay attention to that term, "including Maximon. In addition, four teams of intercessors from Guatemala City have gone to four points of the nation on June 25, 1994 to pray for the country on a specially designated day of prayer. On that day 70,000 people participated in a march for Jesus in Guatemala City announcing to the principalities and powers that Jesus, not the Mayan spirits, is Lord over Guatemala." He goes on to say, "this is truly newsworthy and something to get excited about. It reminds us of some of the amazing events in the 1st century when the people turned from idols to serve the living and true God."
The problem with charismatics is they always want to go back to the 1st century and if anybody really understood how screwed up the 1st century church was nobody would want to back there. They didn't even have vocabulary like Trinity or hypostatic union or rapture; they were at the beginning stage of the development of understanding of the Bible, not as far down the road as we are. It is naïve and silly to think that somehow the early church had it better than we do today and yet 90% of the Christians and seminary professors you talk to have the idea that wouldn't it be great if we could get things back to the way they were in the 1st century. Why don't they really go home and read 1 Corinthians a few times?
He goes on to say, "Where it varies," that is the contemporary issue varies "slightly is in method. Although the preacher of the gospel is still central an incredible emphasis is now being placed…" now you got to learn how to read, as soon as somebody says "although the gospel is still central," that concessive clause tells you it's really not central any more, "although the gospel is still central an incredible emphasis is now being placed on preparing the ground by dealing with the high ranking evil angels." Let me tell you, I've been to conferences on this stuff where they were casting out demons and all this, the gospel, not only is it not central it's not correct. So don't be deceived on stuff like that. "An incredible amount of emphasis is now placed on preparing the ground by dealing with the high ranking evil angels, territorial spirits, over the region. The unique emphasis on battling territorial spirits has also become a key element in a variety of ministries in the United States. One example is a place called The Dwelling Place in Hemet, California." It goes on to describe that, and he says "the pastor was convinced…" I need to read the whole example, this is a fun one.
He says, "Over a decade ago Pastor Bob Beckett began to have recurring visions of a bear hide stretched out over this large community as he sought the Lord during times of personal prayer. Each of the four corners of the bear hide had claws firmly anchoring the hide into the earth," this was his dream. "And down the middle of the hide was a strong backbone. What did this image represent? The pastor was convinced," you know, he generates this out of his own mind, "The pastor was convinced that this was the ruling demonic spirit over the area. He later discovered that the name of the spirit was [sounds like: Tekeats]," now how did he discover that, I wonder. How would you discover that unless you were engaged in dialogue with the demon and the Bible forbids that? "He believed that God was giving him specific information so he could lead his people in warfare prayers to bring down this territorial spirit and ultimately increase the effectiveness of the churches outreach and ministry in the community. The pastor then led a group of people from the church in praying against this evil principality. As they prayed they gained a strong impression," a strong impression? "that the backbone of the beast was breaking apart and that it was losing its spiritual grip on the area. Further research by the pastor into the history of the area helped him identify the four strongholds of the bear's claws. A transcendental meditation [can't understand words] Indian reservation, a retreat facility for followers of the Marharishi Yogi and a Church of Scientology Resort. As the pastor sought the Lord's direction he sensed," he sensed, notice, the verbs here are all dripping with subjectivity and emotion. "He sensed that the Lord was telling him to drive stakes into the ground at four points and raise up a prayer canopy over the area, thus claiming the territory for Christ that once belonged to this evil spirit. After the church took this prophetic action and continued in intercessory prayer for the area they began to have tremendous success in ministry. The congregation doubled in size in less than a year," but did they learn the Bible? "A spirit of love and unity pervaded the church" but were they advancing spirituality, "and there was a new expression of unity among pastors in the community," well isn't that wonderful, doesn't that warm your heart; but what I want to know… and see, the people who do all this they also claim that crime is going to go down now that the evil spirit is gone and all these other things are going to happen but there's no statistics that ever back that up. It's just a lot of emotion.
The author of this piece goes on to say that "a few Christian leaders are now culling insights from these accounts and advocating new and specific strategies for battling higher ranking spirits; they wield influence over neighborhoods, cities, geographical territories and even whole countries." Now I want to know, what's their source of authority and information on how to battle these demons? The Bible? No, they're culling these experiences and these accounts and building their whole theology of demons and angels from experience, not from the Bible. Incidentally, these guys are in most of the…I mean you've got them at Talbot Seminary, you've got them at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School up in Chicago, you've got them in most of the standard evangelical schools. There's no nobody at Dallas like this, there's nobody at Chafer, Tyndale, there's nobody like this at the Master's seminary but most of the others have people into this. He goes on and gives more examples; I guess that's enough to make most of you bilious, so we'll stop there.
Where they get this biblically is from Daniel 10 and what they've done is they've taken just these little hints of the fact that behind the created observable world that we see there are influences coming from both demons and elect angels. But the Bible doesn't tell us any more than that. And yet they extrapolate, not only entire theologies but entire methodologies of prayer and spiritual warfare and spiritual mapping all based on these experiences. And really what they've done, in an ironic way, they have immersed the Church into full blown demonism because that's what happens once you start conversing with demons and once you get involved in this kind of aggressive one on one attack with demons. It is forbidden in the Bible, we are to be in a defensive posture, not an offensive posture. And that's the point of all the verbs to stand firm in Ephesians 6:10 and following; also in James 4, 1 Peter 5, the emphasis is on defense.
So we have to look at this with a little more detail than we normally would in Daniel 10 simply because it is a passage that is being blown out of context and is the basis for much distortion. In Daniel 10 what we discover is that Satan is in the process of making a big change in history. We're going to see that he's been very influential in the Medo-Persian Empire and he's about to turn loose of that and move to the west, to Greece. Certain things are going to happen between the kings of Persia and the kings of Greece and as a result of those battles and wars, some of this we studied in Daniel 8 already, as a result of that and the development of the Greek Empire, what will happen is that Alexander will come on the scene, he'll conquer the Persian Empire and then he dies at a young age and that empire is split into four and one of those regions, the region of Syria, goes to the Seleucids, and one of the Seleucid kings is Antiochus Epiphanes, who is one of the most virulent anti-Semitisms in the Old Testament. Now we have to look at the big picture here because what was going on…see we have to look at not only what's going on in terms of the dynamics of history within history, but what's going on now that we see that there are these battles going on between certain angelic and demonic powers, that Satan is obviously influencing and moving history. I don't dispute that, nobody disputes that. The question is not that he does it, it's both how he does it and what we're to do about it. I want you to note here, Daniel never engages in any kind of prayer against the demons. He never does that; he ignores that. He's aware that's what's happening and he's made aware that's what's happening but it's just we're aware that's what's happening, our focus is on God, not on whatever Satan or the demons might be doing.
But it helps us to understand a little bit about the dynamic from the big picture of what was going on historically. For example, in Babylon, under Nebuchadnezzar, there was a level of anti-Semitism and there was a hatred for Israel, and of course they destroyed the temple, the first temple in 586 BC, and they had moved most of the Jews out of the land and resettled them in Babylon. But then when the Persians came into power under Cyrus, there was a pro-Semitism, they were in favor of the Jews. So now Satan is being foiled because Satan develops anti-Semitism in the Old Testament in order to stop the coming of the Messiah, but now he's being foiled in his attempt because in the pro-Semitism of the Babylonians Cyrus is going to send the Jews back to the land so now he's trying to stop that. That's what's given rise to Daniel's concern here at the beginning of this chapter, he's heard the report that some groups have already gone back under Ezra, but nothing's really happening, they met with opposition, there are various problems and that's because Satan is influencing things, trying to keep them from going back into the land. But what he's going to do, he's going to basically give up on Persia and move in the direction of Greece and ultimately what Satan is doing is he's trying to find another national entity and empire that he can use as a base to build his anti-Semitism again in order to go after Israel. And eventually that culminates in the career of Antiochus Epiphanes. And that's the point of this vision that is going to be explained in chapter 11.
That gives you the overview so let's go back to the doctrine of the angelic conflict. The first point I began with is that we must understand in the angelic conflict that it explains the origin of evil, that evil does not originate inside creation. God is eternal. Let's put a timeline up here on the overhead; God is eternal, there is no beginning and there's no end to God. At some point God creates the angels, so the angels have a finite starting point and then right after He creates the angels He creates the universe. Job 38:4-7 makes it clear that the angels rejoice in unity, so there's no division that point, they're rejoicing in unity when God laid the foundation of the earth. That's Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." So He creates the angels first, then an abode for their habitation and that's the universe. And then it is after the creation of the universe, between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 that Satan falls, and so you have the fall of Satan and this brings evil into the world. Now notice, the fall of Satan was based on pride, it's a mental attitude sin of arrogance. It's not some sort of overt sin.
One of the biggest problems you run into again and again and again in American Christianity is that American theologians and pastors just don't know what to do with the Christian who sins, and they always focus on all these overt sins and then as soon as you say okay, for example, you've got a person who's a pastor and he wakes up one morning and decides he really should have been born a woman and he needs to have a sex change operation, well he wasn't ever really saved. What about the pastor that's in the pulpit that is arrogant in a socially acceptable way and is given over to pride the whole time. That's mental attitude sin, why is that sin ignored and some overt sin is emphasized. So the arrogant pastor is clearly saved but the sexual confused pastor probably wasn't ever saved. There's such a superficial attitude towards sin and evil; evil is the result of simply Satan's desire to be independent from God, so it has a finite starting point and it will have an ending point in that it is going to be, evil and Satan and all of those who have rebelled against God, the fallen angels and all human unbelievers in time will be confined and restricted to the lake of fire at the end of time.
So that for the Christian evil is something that is temporary, but for all non-Christian religions and philosophical systems, they either cannot explain evil or evil is basically confused with good and it's a very pragmatic distinction. But for every other system, including Darwinian evolution evil has to be something that is natural to all creation and normal and has always been there; and there's ultimately no reason outside of creation…see, everything under here is in the created order. This is creation. And to define evil you have to appeal to something, some sort of absolute that exists outside of creation, and only Christians have a God who is absolutely perfect righteousness, who gives them a standard for being able to determine what evil is. And so in all other religious and philosophical systems you end up having a worse problem with evil that they can't explain. But they always think they have us because they're going to come to some Christian and they're going to say well how can a loving God let horrible things happen to children. And most Christians just don't know enough or think enough, they've never been taught to think deeply about this and so all of a sudden they just freeze up and, well, I don't know what the answer is. The answer is, you explain it without God. See, they can't explain it without God at all. They're in a worse case, they're like somebody living in a house and throwing rocks, they're not throwing rocks from outside the glass, they're throwing rocks from inside their glass house.
So the starting point to understanding angelic conflict is the origin of evil, that evil is not normal, it was not part of the original creation, it originally came about as a result of Satan's decision to revolt against God, Ezekiel 28:11 and following, and Isaiah 14:12 and following.
Point number two; the angels were created along with the physical creation and they are considered in the Bible to be a part of God's creation. This is important; a lot of what I'm going to say as we go through angelic conflict is old news, but I'm going to put a few little twists in here to give you a new perspective on it. The angels were created along with physical creation and are considered as part of creation. Job 38:4-7; Psalm 104:4; Psalm 14:82. Angels are part of creation.
Now the third point, in his fall Satan sought to be his own god or own king over creation. In his fall Satan sought to be king over creation. He was part of creation but he wanted to rule creation as a god; Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19. Now we don't have time to go into those passages but you can look them up and be careful in most of your more modern study Bibles, the usual notes say these passages just refer to a human king and I've got a section of theology coming out on Satanology and demonology to be published in a systematic theology edited by Mel Couch that will come out next year where I give ten reasons within the text itself why these passage cannot refer to a human being. They clearly use language that isn't…what you usually find is somebody saying the language here, like "he was in Eden," "he was cast out from heaven," that's just metaphor, that's just figurative language. To make that kind of a claim you have to be able to demonstrate where that language is used metaphorically in other places. It's never used metaphorically in other places. There's no other example in secular or ancient literature where that terminology is used as a figure of speech. So the only way, in terms of exegetical methodology you can't just come along and say well, that sounds like a figure of speech so it ought to be a figure of speech. You have to be able to prove by example other places in ancient or Biblical literature where those phrases are used in that way, and it doesn't exist. So these passages clearly talk about the fall of someone who is much greater than any human king.
Point number four; as a result of Satan's fall angels were divided into two classes, what we call evil and elect angels, or fallen and holy angels. The evil and fallen angels are further subdivided, some are active demons, some are imprisoned; there are two classes of imprisoned demons, those who were involved in the Genesis 6 infiltration of the human race and another group that will be released from the abyss during the Tribulation. So you have evil angels and you have the elect angels. Remember, all angels including Satan are part of creation.
That brings us to point number five; man is created after the fall of the angels and part of his responsibility as a creature in the image and likeness of God is that he is to rule in God's place over nature. Key point: he is to rule over nature! Genesis 1:26-28. He is to rule over all of nature and that would include eventually the angels. Psalm 8:5-8; 1 Corinthians 6:2-3.
Point number six, now remember, the angels are created, they're part of creation, Satan falls because he wants to be the one who rules creation. So God then creates man who is to rule over creation and eventually that would include angels. So Satan, therefore, tempts man in order to get man to follow him in his sin and to prevent man from ruling creation. See, many was created in order to demonstrate certain things to the angels about Satan's method of operation, that Satan's arrogance, arrogance was an invalid methodology, an invalid mental attitude for being a ruler, that the creature could not rule any element of creation independently of the Creator, so man is created to demonstrate also the justice, the true justice and love of God, but Satan wants to destroy all that, but part of what he is destroying is he's trying to keep man from fulfilling his role as a ruler over creation; Genesis 3:1-5 describes the temptation.
Point number seven; God's response to the fall of man was to put into effect a plan of salvation that was oriented to the Second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, who Himself would successfully subdue all nature including Satan and the fallen angels. So this puts everything into a slightly different perspective. The angels are part of creation, Satan rebelled because he wanted to rule creation on his own, man is created to rule creation and demonstrate the proper mental attitude, the proper relationship to God, authority orientation necessary to rule creation. Part of Satan's assault on man is to prevent man from ruling over all creation, including Satan and the fallen angels; God responds with the plan of salvation providing the Second Adam who will subdue all nature including Satan and the fallen angels. So Jesus Christ becomes the head of a new species, a new creation and through Jesus Christ this new creation, which is the Church, is going to be able to eventually, not now, not in the Church Age, but eventually we will be able along with the Lord Jesus Christ to subdue Satan and the demons and that happens at the Second Coming when we return with Jesus Christ at the end of the Tribulation, at which time you have Philippians 2:10 take place, that everything under heaven will bow to the Lord Jesus Christ. Passages on this are Genesis 3:15-19; Romans 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:20-28; Ephesians 1:10; Colossians 2:15 and Revelation 5:9-10. So we see that the angelic conflict has a broader dimension in order to demonstrate how the creation is to be ruled.
Another fascinating thing takes place in the Biblical revelation of the angelic conflict is that it shows that there is an angelic council that God uses to influence human history. There is a couple of crucial passages on this, I don't want to take the time to look at these individually but we can look at Job 1:6-12 and we see that Satan still occupies a seat on this angelic council. In Job 1 we're told that when the sons of God, that's a term for all of the angels, fallen angels and holy angels, when the sons of God gathered before God, then Satan came before God and said, and God says have you considered My servant Job. And Satan says well, the only reason Job worships you is because You've blessed him so much, he's wealthy, he's prosperous, he's successful, he's got a wonderful family, if you take all that away from him he's not going to worship you any more, he's going to curse you. So God says okay, we'll take it all away and I'll show you that he won't do that. Then we see what evidence testing is like, that the believer in the midst of trials is giving evidence of God's grace and God's glory and God's sustenance against Satan, that we worship God despite our present circumstances.
Furthermore, we look at a passage like 1 Kings 22:19-22 and we see this battle where Jehoshaphat and Ahab are lined up against the Syrians and they are going to go into battle and all the false prophets come to Ahab and tell him he's going to be successful and Ahab finally says oh, isn't there somebody who's going to tell me the truth, so this one prophet, Macaiah comes out and says this is what God showed me, all the angels were before God in heaven and God said who's going to go forth and be a deceiving spirit to Ahab. And there we see how even under the sovereignty of God, God uses the evil, the rebelliousness of the angels. Now that's a passage that if you haven't gone through that with me before will blow your mind because it clearly shows how God uses even the negative volition and the rebellion of the angels to bring about His own glory. But it opens us; once again it pulls the window shade back so that we can look into that other dimension where the angels and the demons exist to see how they are influential in human history.
Another passage is in Revelation 12:4 where we discover that a third of the angels had followed Satan in his revolt and that they are involved in influencing human history in the Tribulation in a much greater way than they have ever done in any other period of human history.
Point number nine; Satan doesn't live in just heaven, he doesn't live in hell, Satan is walking about on the earth, Job 1 and 1 Peter 5:9-11. He is going about as a roaring lion on the earth, seeking whom he may devour. Therefore, we are to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God that God can exalt us and protect us against these kinds of assaults.
Point number ten; we have to realize that human history is two dimensional, it's not one dimensional, it's not just natural, there is a metaphysical aspect to it that involves the angels and the demons, but the thing that we have to understand is, that's not where our focus is to be. We need to understand that it's influenced that way but it's not our job to stop that influence, our job is to have direct communication with God and then God is the one who deals with the angels. When we see this example in Daniel 10, Daniel is praying to God when he finds out that there is a battle going on between the prince of Persia and this interpreting angel and Michael, he doesn't change his tactic and start praying about the angels or praying to the angels. See, this is what happens in this modern screwed up of territorial spirits and spiritual warfare is they start praying against the demons and praying against the territorial spirits and that's just a completely false if not heretical application derived from this passage.
Point number eleven; in Revelation 12:4 John reveals something about the virgin birth that is not seen in any of the Gospels. Revelation 12:4 is partly historical, it says "his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven," that's a reference to the tail of the dragon and the third of the angels that followed him in his revolt, "a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth," and that happens toward the middle of the Tribulation and is yet future. The indication there is that the demons are going to become visible and active and they are going to be confined to the earth during the second half of the Tribulation. See, it's going to be bizarre, people are going to walk around and see demons during the last part of the Tribulation, and they're going to be influential in human affairs. Everything comes together at the end of the Tribulation.
And then we have sort of a look back, "and the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth," now the woman here is Israel and the birth here is of the Messiah, and it says "the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth so that when she gave birth he might devour her child." See, this is a picture you don't see in the Gospels and that is that behind the scenes historically Satan sees the birth of the Messiah and wants to destroy the Messiah. And of course that's played out in history as part of Herod's attack on the infants and those under the age of two in Israel. But never do you see the Scripture take this kind of mystical new-agey kind of approach that's infected the Church in trying to do some kind of direct battle with the angels or the demons. It never looks at it that way, it just tells us there are these two dimensions and there's two influences but it doesn't go into detail.
The problem with so many people is they are inordinately curious and they want to know how all this works. Well, God hasn't told us that and that's why we're to stay out of this because if you get into it, you will basically come under a lot of demon influence. So point number 11 was Revelation 12 shows us something new about the virgin birth that's not revealed in the earlier Gospels.
Point number twelve tells us that there is a structure or hierarchy to the angels. In some places they are called principalities, from the Greek word arche, which means of the highest level, the first angels, and powers and this is the word exousia, for authorities, also called world forces, this is the Greek term cosmokrator, which refers to another category or another ranking of angels. You can find these descriptions in Roman 8:38; Ephesians 6:12; 1 Peter 3:22 where they are referred to as powers and in 1 Peter 3:22 the word for powers is dunamis, not exousia, so there's authorities and powers. I would suggest that those that are designated powers would be those who are involved in miracles because the same word, dunamis, is used for miracles and among the demons they would be involved in promoting false miracles, which of course is what's going to authenticate the antichrist during the Tribulation, is false miracles. So demons can produce false miracles or pseudo miracles in order to distract believers.
Daniel also, in two places, describes other categories of angels. In Daniel 4:13, Daniel 4:17 and Daniel 4:23 he mentions watcher angels, these were angels that watched or observed or guarded certain aspects of history, and you might say almost the historical dimensions of empires. And then he refers to these, what I would call empire angels, just because I don't like that term "territorial spirits" that the charismatics have come up, these empire angels, the prince of Persia, prince of Greece, etc. in Daniel 10:13 and Daniel 10:20-21.
With that background from the angelic conflict let's look at what happens here in Daniel 10:13, "But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me," now this is the interpreting angel speaking to Daniel, and he's describing why it took so long to get his prayer answered. See, we think that God didn't hear us, that somehow God's concerned about the Middle East right now so He's not paying attention to my problem. Or, you know, God's taking a nap. But there are other aspects at work here and so Daniel is praying day after day after day and in Daniel 9 it took just instantaneously for the angel to show up and here it takes three weeks. And we find out why and that is that he is involved, he's come to help out Daniel but he's been opposed by the prince of the kingdom of Persia.
Now the prince of the kingdom of Persia is a demon, not a human being, and notice, there's just one demon over the entire empire of Persia; it's his responsibility to influence the Persian Empire. Now whether or not it's right to extrapolate from this, I don't know. The Bible doesn't so we shouldn't. And what's happened with this doctrine of territorial spirits is they will say that have you ever noticed that some neighborhoods, some streets, there are more Christians than others? That's because of territorial spirits. [tape turns] ... Christians on your street and there aren't any on the other streets because there are territorial demons on that other street so we have to pray down those territorial demons and we have to have these prayer sessions and do this spiritual mapping and you know, none of that comes out of the Bible. The Apostle Paul never heard of any of that stuff, this was mostly invented by a bunch of fruits and nuts out in Southern California.
All we're told here is "the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me," there was a battle in the heavenlies, and this interpreting angel had to call on aid, notice he had to… and it doesn't say that he is successful because Daniel kept praying. This is another wacko idea that came out in the late 80s; there were a couple of real popular spiritual warfare novels that came out called Piercing the Darkness and This Present Darkness by a guy from the northwest named Frank Peretti, they have been best sellers and completely confused a lot of people including doctrinal students that I knew at Dallas Seminary back in the late 80s—oh, isn't it wonderful, it encouraged me to pray. I said yeah, it encouraged you to pray because it basically taught the doctrine that angels couldn't do anything unless you prayed. Do you believe that? Oh no, of course not. So you were encouraged to pray by false doctrine, that's good… and you're getting your doctorate in theology from Dallas Seminary? Explain this to me, I mean, people tell me well, it's just fiction, Jesus used parables, parables are fiction, fiction can teach theology. And the author was the son of an Assembly of God, a charismatic pastor, and this is a novel, a fictional form of teaching this kind of hyper-spiritual warfare heresy that started coming out back in the 80s. And one of the things they taught is that the holy angels are empowered by the prayers of the saints so the more we pray the more powerful they become. It's like blowing up a big balloon, the more you pray the bigger and stronger the holy angels become and if the Church doesn't pray the weaker and weaker they become and then the demons win. It's just this mystical garbage that's just…it's like superstitious nonsense and yet I'm telling you, back in the 80s Tommy and I were writing against this stuff, in fact writing against this is what gave us the opportunity to write the book on Spiritual Warfare, one of the heads of Harvest House, the President of Harvest House read one of our book reviews and called us up and said we want you guys to write a book on this because nobody is saying the kinds of things that you're saying, you seem to be the only people out there saying anything Biblical. Now this stuff was mainstream. Back then it was in the fringe, in the late 80s but now it's mainstream in most churches because of the influence of books like Peretti's novels. I mean, it's just suckered people and they sold, I think the last time I saw a copy on a bookshelf it said that over 3,000,000 were in print. So we have to be careful about looking and seeing exactly what the Scripture says.
Now we go to Daniel 10:14 and we read, "Now I have come to you to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days," see, that's the purpose for the prophecy, is so the Jews will know what's going on, especially during this time of anti-Semitism persecution under Antiochus Epiphanes so that they can have hope; in the darkest days of the persecution in the 2nd and 3rd century BC they will know God still has a plan for Israel and so they can relax and be confident, even when everything seems to be falling apart, even when their [can't understand word] is being invaded by the Syrian army, even when Antiochus Epiphanes is going in setting up a blasphemous idol in the Holy of Holies and sacrificing a pig to Jupiter in the Holy of Holies in the temple, the Jews can relax and know that God is still in control, at least the ones who are positive and learning the lesson. So the angel said the purpose of this vision is "to give you an understanding for your people, for this vision pertains to the days yet future."
Daniel 10:15, "And when he had spoken to me according to these words, I," that is Daniel, "I turned my face toward the ground and became speechless." He's just stunned by what he's learning. Verse 16, "And behold, one who resembled a human being," so again we see that angels don't look like these mystical airy fairy white golden haired winged, two-winged creature you see in renaissance paintings, in fact, if you study the history of art they didn't start putting wings on figures of angels until you get into the Byzantine period and that's a reflection of all kinds of bizarre theology that came up during the Byzantine period about 6th, 7th, 8th century AD. So the angel looks like a human being; they always look like a human being in Scripture. "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,'" that's like saying "Sir," he's showing respect for the angel, "O my lord, as a result of the vision anguish has come upon me, and I have retained no strength." Now Daniel is 85 or 90 years of age, he's just overwhelmed by all that he's seeing here and realizing all of the suffering that's going to come to his people in the next few centuries and in fact in what would be going up to Daniels seventieth week of the vision in Daniel 9.
Then in Daniel 10:17 we read, "For how can such a servant of my lord talk with such as me?" Daniel is just showing his respect for the angel and saying how can you talk with me? "As for me there remains just now no strength in me nor has any breath been left in me." We see his genuine humility here.
Daniel 10:18, "Then this one with human appearance touched me again and strengthened me." Incidentally, this is like the third angel that we've seen here; there was the interpreting angel and then there was the reference to Michael and now this is a third angel and they seem to have trouble keeping Daniel going, he's 85 or 90 and he just seems a bit frail here. Another thing we notice here is that the angels seem to be…there's a sense in the pace of the Hebrew that they're in a hurry to get Daniel to pay attention, we need to go, you need to get the message, we've got a job to do because something's happening outside of history in the supernatural realm that we need to deal with.
So the angel then says in Daniel 10:19, "And he said, 'O man of high esteem, do not be afraid." In other words, calm down, doctrine will stabilize your emotions even in the midst of crisis, listen to what we have to say. "Peace be with you; take courage and be courageous!" And that's a message for every believer today in the midst of this war on terrorism. People around the country…I had a lady call me this morning talking about how fearful everybody is; she is now in a retirement home, she has a tremendous opportunity to witness to other folks that are there and she says the level of fear that is governing so many people in America today is palpable, and she's had tremendous opportunities to witness to people and share the gospel and give them promises. So the angel says, "Peace be with you; take courage and be courageous! Now as soon as he spoke to me," Daniel says, "I received strength and said, May my lord speak, for you have strengthened me."
Then we come to 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," see, he's in a hurry, I need to give you this information, I'm going to leave because I've got to go fight the prince of Persia, and "as I'm going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come." Things are changing in this dimension that is beyond human history and I need to give you this information, make sure you understand the vision and I've got to get back to the battle. So this whole chapter opens up for us this other dimension that takes place of [can't understand word] warfare in the heavenlies between the angels and gives us an idea of how God works to control human history. He doesn't do it independently of events within the created order, but He does it through the angels and through believers.
Daniel 10:21, the angel goes on to say, "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," so he's fighting with Michael." You don't have this picture portrayed by Peretti and others in these fictional accounts, of armies and armies of angels doing battle with armies and armies of demons. You have one demon; you have one holy angel fighting alongside of Michael. We don't have myriads and myriads of angels involved in these sort of empire or imperial struggles that are influencing human history.
That gives us insight into what goes on behind the scenes. We just imagine…don't let your imagination run away with you now, we can just imagine though what must be taking place as we look around with this war or terrorism. That doesn't justify us to pray against the demons or pray to the angels; Daniel never does that. Daniel continues to pray directly to God and to apply doctrine. That's the believer's responsibility. And to rest and to relax in the principles of doctrine and that God controls human history. We understand the methodologies and the dynamics of what's going on behind the scenes but that's not the issue. The issue is our personal relationship with God, our growth to spiritual maturity and advance in the spiritual life.