Elon, North Carolina
We are studying the Book of Daniel and we come to one of the most fascinating chapters in Scripture. It is a short chapter (only twenty-one verses) but this chapter is crazy. Chuck Missler called it “one of the spookiest chapters in the Bible.” It is a chapter on spiritual warfare. It is a chapter on angels and demons and angels fighting demons.
What it says is shocking. You it says you may find hard to even believe. Some of what it says is not found anywhere else in the Bible. As others have pointed out, this chapter describes an awesome vision and an invisible war (Wiersbe). It starts with a vision.
In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and it concerned a great war. The understanding of the message came to him in a vision.
Daniel has a vision about a world war and the vision leads to a fast, the Daniel Fast.
At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. 3 I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.
It was not a complete fast. In a complete fast, you only drink water or liquids. This was a partial fast. Daniel does not give up all foods but only certain kinds of foods. He did not eat any rich foods, no good tasting food (no chocolate cake or cinnamon rolls or pastries). He did not eat any meat (no Big Macs or steaks).
He also did not drink any wine. This was not only a fast from meat but also a fast from alcohol. If he abstained from wine that implies he must have been a wine drinker before his fast.
He did not put any oil on his body. Jews normally put lotion on their body before going out in public (like putting aftershave or cologne on). Not too many people who do the Daniel fast do this. Daniel was not doing this to lose weight or to get healthy. It was a sign of mourning.
The vision is followed by a fast which was followed by a supernatural encounter. Daniel is outside with some friends and he has a heavenly encounter. Without warning, a powerful angel stands before him.
On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, 5 I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. 6 His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude. (Daniel 10:4-6 NIV).
The angel strengthens Daniel, tells him what took him so long to answer his prayer, tells him that he has a final revelation (which he calls “the book of truth”) and says what he will be doing when he leaves Daniel.
What is the message for us from this chapter? I want us to focus on seven incredible truths about angels that come right out of this chapter. Some of these truths are obvious and some are not. Some of them you may have heard of and some of them you may not have heard of.
Seven Insights on Angels from Daniel 10
1) Angels are real
Skeptics have a problem with this but even in the physical world there are all kinds of things that we believe that we cannot see. We cannot see air or wind, but we believe in them. We cannot see oxygen, but we need it to survive. We can’t see atoms. We cannot see our own DNA. We cannot see radio waves. Scientists believe in something called dark matter. Eighty percent of the universe is made up of it, but we can’t see it.
If God opened our eyes, just for one second, to see the spiritual world, we would be shocked by what we saw. We would see millions of angels and demons and angels fighting demons.
Some people claim to be able to see into the spirit realm. They claim to be able to see demons on people. Some may be able to do that. It is not anything that I have ever been able to do. Daniel saw in the spirit realm in Daniel 10. He saw a powerful angel that no one else could see but he could not see everything that happened in the spirit realm. He lived in ancient Persia but never saw this Prince of Persia. The prophet Elisha was able to see the spirit world. He could see the invisible world.
There is a famous story in the Bible found in II Kings 6. He was surrounded by a foreign army that wanted to take him captive. The city was completely surrounded with Syrian troops. His servant was afraid. Elisha was completely outnumbered. He was surrounded. He had nowhere to run. There was no escape. The servant said, what shall we do?
Elisha says, “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (II Kings 6:16-17).
After Elisha prayed, his servant was able to see what he saw. He was able to see the spiritual realm. He not only saw an angel, he saw an army of angels. He saw an angelic army, a supernatural army that nobody else could see.
2) Angels are terrifying creatures
Many of these creatures in the Bible are terrifying. They are bizarre looking creatures with several heads and eyes all over their body. Some of them are gigantic and the demons are even more frightening, but Daniel did not see a demon. He saw one angel and he was absolutely terrified. It made him physically weak.
I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; those who were with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. 8 So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had NO STRENGTH left, my face turned deathly PALE and I was HELPLESS. (Daniel 10:7-8 NIV).
Daniel was pale and he was weak. Daniel was already weak. He was weak because of his age. If you do the chronology here, Daniel was eighty or ninety at this time. He was elderly and frail physically. He was weak because of his fast. He had also just gone three weeks without food or at least good food.
Now he sees an incredible vision. It is bright. It shines. It sparkles. His face was like lightening. It was so powerful that it makes him so weak that he could barely breathe (Daniel 10:17).
Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground. (Daniel 10:9 NIV)
When he saw this creature, he was WEAK. When he spoke, he falls facedown in the ground and goes right to sleep. He is out. Daniel did the same thing when he saw the angel Gabriel in Daniel 8:17-18. When he gets up, he is absolutely TERRIFIED.
A hand touched me and set me TREMBLING on my hands and knees. 11 He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up TREMBLING. 12 Then he continued, “Do not be AFRAID, Daniel (Daniel 10:10-12 NIV).
This brings us to a very important point about angels. When we think of angels, we think of calm, mild creatures that are harmless but are comforting. The truth is that angels are scary. Daniel trembled in the presence of this angel. He could not even stand up straight. His face was in the dirt.
The Angel Gabriel took someone’s voice away from him because he did not listen to him. That is what happened to Zechariah when he announced the birth of John the Baptist. Every teacher in the public schools would love to have that power today. Other angels actually gave people the power of speech. in Daniel 10, an angel touched Daniel’s lips so he could speak (Daniel 10:16). Every time they appear in Scripture, the first thing they say is “Do not be afraid.”
When an angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds in to announce the birth of Jesus, they were terrified. The angels said, “Don’t be afraid. I actually have a message of good news for you that will cause joy for all people” (Luke 2:8-10). When Jesus rose from the dead, an angel rolled back the stone and sat on it. This angel looked like lightening. His clothes were white as snow (Matthew 28:2-3). The guards were so scared they shook and became like dead men but when the women say them, they said, “Do not be afraid.”
3) Angels have different ministries
They are called “ministering spirits” in the NT (Hebrews 1:14). You do not have to be behind a pulpit to have a ministry. Angels have ministries as well. We see many of these angels in Daniel. What are some of the ministry of angels?
They are military angels. They are combat angels. They are spiritual warfare angels. Michael is one bad dude. He is bad to the bone. He is a warrior angel. He is a military angel.
One of the jobs of angels is to protect or deliver people. An angel delivered Peter from prison in Acts 12. An angel protected Daniel’s friends in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3). An angel protected Daniel in the lion’s den (Daniel 6). There are guardian angels.
Gabriel went around with a message to people and it was usually good news. He is the Christmas angel, the messianic angel. These angels give divine revelation. They either gave Daniel a prophecy or interpreted it for him. They preach or teach.
There is a cool truth about prayer found in this chapter. The answer is on its way the minute you pray. Daniel’s prayer was heard the first minute it was uttered. The answer came on day twenty-one but was heard in heaven from day one.
Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since THE FIRST DAY that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard (Daniel 10:12 NIV)
When we pray, we wonder if God hears us? We think our prayers do not get past the ceiling. Earth is just a tiny planet in our solar system. It is microscopic in the size of the universe but one every single prayer that is uttered from a true believer instantly makes its way into God’s presence. The answer may not come immediately but God hears even the tiniest whisper from every believer.
We learn from this chapter that God hears every payer and uses angels to answer them. In Daniel 9, Daniel prays a long prayer, an angel is dispatched with the answer. In Daniel 10, he fasts and prays and a different angel arrives with a message for him. Daniel saw these angels. They talked to him. Most of the time we do not see them. They work behind the scenes to help us. Daniel did not pray to these angels, like Catholics do, but God does use angels to answer prayers.
Is Jesus the Angel Michael?
Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that Jesus is Michael. Why do they believe that they are the same person? Michael is called ‘the archangel” in the Bible (Jude 9). He is the chief angel or head angel. Michael is not only an angel, he is an archangel. He is a ruling angel.
Revelation talks about Michael and his angels. He is the head angel and has angels under him. They believe that Jesus is just an angel, so Jesus must be Michael but there are many fallacies with this argument. It is easy to refute.
Jesus was NOT an angel. He was not an archangel. He is not just the head angel but the one who created all the angels (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). He is not Michael and is never called Michael in the Bible. He is the one who created Michael. He is clearly distinguished from the angels in the NT (Hebrews 1:5-8).
4) Angels encounter opposition in their work
“Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. (Daniel 10:12-13 NIV)
This chapter shows the power of demons. One powerful demon was able to stop one of heaven’s angels right in his tracks and detained him for several weeks (Daniel 10:13).
We are not the only ones who encounter opposition. Angels encounter opposition. Angels do the will of God and they encounter resistance from demons.
5) Our prayers cause invisible angelic warfare
Our prayers can cause warfare among angels. That is strange. Our prayers can actually cause angels to fight. We would not know this ever happens if we did not have Daniel 10.
Daniel describes a battle, not between people and demons but between angels and demons. It describes angels fighting other angels, good angels fighting bad angels. You may have thought that only people fight. Angels fight as well.
Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven (Revelation 12:7-8 NIV)
How do spirits fight? How do spiritual beings fight? Do they use hand-to-hand combat? Do they use some type of kung fu or jujitsu? What kinds of weapons do they use? Do they fight with knifes or guns? We do not know but we do know that they fight.
6) Angelic warfare can delay our prayers
Daniel prayed and an angel was sent to answer his prayer and was trying to get to Daniel, but a demon spirit blocked him like a lineman (to use a football analogy) for twenty-one days until the Angel Michael came to help him out. What does this tell us? Demonic forces can delay answers to prayer. Demons cannot can’t stop prayers or their answers but they can DELAY them. They can hinder them and slow down the answer.
7) Angels are over geographical areas
Demons are over geographical areas as well. Countries in the world have powerful demons assigned to them. This is called the doctrine of TERRITORIAL SPIRITS. Not everyone one believes in this doctrine. Some Christians reject it but it comes right out of this chapter of Daniel. Territorial spirits are real.
There are three princes mentioned in Daniel 10 – the prince of Persia (Daniel 10:13, 20), the prince of Greece (Daniel 10:20) and the prince of Israel (Daniel 10:21). NONE of them were human princes. They were all angelic or demonic princes. The Prince of the Kingdom of Persia was not Cyrus. It was a demon. It was a demon spirit.
The Bible teaches that Satan is the ruler of this world. Jesus called him “the prince of this world” (John 12:31). If he is the ruler of this world, then he is the ruler of nations in the world.
Demons not only control some people, some families and even some churches, they control some nations. Demons rule nations. There are invisible powers which rule and influence nations. Some nations have had demon-inspired leaders (Hitler, Stalin). If ancient Persia had a demonic prince behind it, what about modern Persia? Modern Persia is Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.
Detecting a Territorial Spirit
If there was a demon assigned to Persia, is there is a demon assigned to the US? How can you tell if a demon spirit rules a particular area? What are the prevailing characteristics of a particular region? Every city has unique characteristics. Different spirits dominate different cities (e.g., San Francisco). Certain sins define a land.
Leviticus 18:25 states, “Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants” (NIV). Also, Ezra 9:11 states, “The land you are entering to possess is a land polluted by the corruption of its peoples. By their detestable practices they have filled it with their impurity from one end to the other” (NIV).
The real war is not a battle with Muslims or Islam. It is not a battle over mental illness. The real war is spiritual.
Satan came to “steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10). Jesus said that the devil was a “murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44). God is pro-life. Satan is pro-death.
People who are suicide bombers who kill themselves so they can kill others are giving into a demonic spirit. Many mass murderers committed their crime because a voice inside their head told them to do it.
It is opposed to the Abrahamic Covenant. It is an attempt by Satan to thwart the program of God. Hitler’s attempt at genocide was demonic.
Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown. (Revelation 2:10 NIV)
Paul called it “a doctrine of demons” in I Timothy 4:1. False religion is demonically inspired. Entire countries and ideologies are motivated by false religion and idolatry.
They are called “unclean spirits” in Scripture. There are certain centers of that in the world. There are certain geographic centers of pornography in the world.
Political division is centered in Washington, D.C. Satan wants to divide Christians. He wants to divide the nation, politically and racially. Satan is the one who promotes hatred and division.
Wherever you see deliberate lies, misinformation and fake, you know where it came from. You can find deliberate lies about the president and other political leaders in the media and online almost every day. It is demonic. Satan was the first liar. Jesus called him “the father of lies” (John 8:44).
Responding to Territorial Spirits
How should we as believers respond to territorial spirits? We should be aware of the sins of our city and pray. We should do a prayer walk. We should walk down even the worst streets and lift up our voice to the God of Heaven to break strongholds. Pray for spiritual victory against any demonic spirits attached to that geographical location. Some have done this and have seen real change.
Israel’s Guardian Angel
Demons are not the only angels over a geographical location. Michael is also a national angel. He is Israel’s guardian angel (Daniel 10:21). He will be prominent in the last days. In a time of national crisis, he will be involved. Daniel 12:1 says, “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise” (NIV). The concept of guardian angels is biblical but angels not only guard individuals, they guard a whole nation.
 This was the view not only of the cults but also of many others. This was the view of John Calvin, The Geneva Bible (1560) and some of the Puritans (so John Gill, Matthew Henry). It was also the view of John Wesley.