Open Your Bible
Daniel 10:1-21, Daniel 11:1-4, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, Ephesians 6:12
Reality: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens” (Ephesians 6:12).
How easily we find ourselves thinking that Twitter feeds, mindless sound bites, even whole paragraphs about presidents, protestors, politics, and pandemics are the substance of our realities. Turns out the apostle Paul did not think of reality so superficially. Neither did Daniel.
Looking back 2500 years ago, international politics were dicey then too. The super power had shifted from Babylon to Persia practically overnight. There seem to have been crises at the top; the alternating names Darius the Mede and Cyrus leave a whiff of uncertainty, not just for puzzled commentators but possibly for real people at that time.
Daniel was a venerable statesman—probably in his eighties at this point—when he chose to fast, humble himself, and seek greater understanding of the rapidly changing circumstances surrounding him (Daniel 10:2–3,12). He commenced these disciplines just prior to the festival of Passover, three years into the Persian rule. Perhaps he anticipated an immediate response in time to celebrate the Passover traditions of redemption from bondage. His previous prayer experience might have led him to expect it. Directly after the Persian takeover, he had prayed earnestly, and the angel Gabriel arrived in swift flight with an answer, even while Daniel was still praying (chapter 9).
This time was different. Three long weeks passed before the response came. In the meantime, Daniel likely did not eat the Passover meal or drink the cups of wine. When the vision did come, it was overwhelming. Daniel fell to his face before the linen-clad figure, who was wearing a sash of gold, had flaming eyes, a face like lightning, and a thunderous voice (note Revelation 1:13–15).
The messenger spoke of warring dark powers in the heavens, reaching their tentacles into every earthly turmoil. Evil and sinister “princes” underlay the destructive kingdoms of the Persians and Greeks, both of whom would oppress God’s people severely. The future trauma detailed in chapter 11 would occur more than two centuries after Daniel’s lifetime. Nevertheless, Daniel’s revelation here made it clear these tumultuous events were not outside God’s sovereign plan (Daniel 4:34).
Back to our present: the brutal evil we see daily is an imprint of cosmic war; it requires vigilance and powerful prayer intervention. Hence, Paul’s admonition to put on the full armor of God and to stand, stand, stand firm. Daniel, a ”treasured” person, heard the same admonition: stand and be strong (Daniel 10:11,19).
How do we stand strong when lies incessantly rage and evil powers rear their ugly heads? “Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10) takes on another dimension, doesn’t it? We must stand against everything false and contrary to the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to Christ (2Corinthians 10:3–5), ordering our lives by God’s truth, and praying faithfully that the burning arrows of the evil one will be extinguished.