One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Monday, December 2, 2013: Daniel 9:1-11:1
he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you
set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God,
your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. 13 But
the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and
behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had
been left alone there with the kings of Persia. Daniel 10:12-13 (NKJV)
As Christians, we believe that there is a spiritual realm that surrounds the physical realm in which we live. That may sound spooky or strange, but it is fundamental to a Christian worldview. A naturalistic worldview says that the only things that are "real" are those things we can touch, taste, smell, or prove in a test tube. Biblical Christians believe that there is a dimension beyond the obvious. It is the realm in which God exists.
It is also the realm in which evil exists. I believe in a literal God. I also believe in a literal devil. I believe in the existence of angels. I believe also that evil spirits exist which the Bible calls demons.
This should not be shocking. Nor should it frighten us. Logical minds may scoff, saying such talk is the territory of kooks. The Bible is clear throughout that heaven and hell or not locations on a map of the world. They are part of another dimension.
Daniel was a visionary. He was enabled by God to see beyond the natural events of his time. During a 21-day partial fast, he had a rather vivid encounter with an angelic being (probably Gabriel). Such angelic visions are rare. They should be rare. In fact, I do not trust anyone who claims to have them regularly. These encounters are special divine interventions to deliver crucial world-changing information. They are not for casual conversations.
Apart from the message of Gabriel, this story gives us amazing insight into the battles being fought in the spiritual realm. Gabriel tells Daniel that from the start of the 21-day fast, he had been coming to Daniel. But he had been withstood by "the prince of the kingdom of Persia" (10:13). After reinforcements from the archangel Michael, he broke through and arrived.
Such apocalyptic literature should not be used to make hard-and-fast doctrine, but we can discern what God is saying to us here. The "prince of Persia" is obviously an opponent of God's messengers. That means it must be some kind of principality or power in the realms of evil. Are there territorial spiritual powers over every region? The Bible never comes right out and says so, but there is ample evidence that this is in fact the case.
Here are some lessons:
1. Our spiritual battle is often more than personal. It is regional.
2. Your prayers are a major force in winning this spiritual battle.
3. Fasting is important to spiritual breakthrough.
4. Do not grow weary in persistent prayer. It answer is on the way.
It really is not important for us to be able to actually see this spiritual realm. All progress in the Kingdom of God is BY FAITH. It is enough to know that God's Word is true and you are His ambassador.