There is a conflict that you're a part of. You may not realize it, you may not want it, but there's one conflict that you cannot be a pacifist in, and that is a spiritual conflict of which Daniel will see. Most of us prefer to keep the peace to avoid conflict, but as Skip shares today on Connect with Skip Heitzel, keeping the peace just isn't an option in one fight.
And then stick around as Skip and Lendia talk about the spiritual battle we're a part of. It's not a Democrat or Republican thing. It's a spiritual thing. It's a kingdom thing. God wants people in his heaven, in his kingdom, but he won't force them to be there.
It's always a choice. So how do you keep people from that? Satan would say, well, I'll give him a lot of distractions. I'll get him busy with a lot of other things.
There's just innumerable things that would keep you away from the most important thing. Now, here's an offer that'll strengthen your marriage as you grow closer to your spouse and God. Great marriages are made, not born. God wants you to have a strong, thriving, and fun marriage. The Marriage Devotional, 52 Days to Strengthen the Soul of Your Marriage, by Levi and Jenny Lusko, is designed to help your marriage not just survive, but thrive. You want to understand God's secret, the secret for fruit in your marriage, in your family, in your parenting. If you feel overwhelmed because your marriage is a long way from where you feel like it should be, or if you feel discouraged and excluded today because divorce is in your story, and here you see God's plan for flourishing, and you've disqualified yourself because of what's in your past, let me tell you something.
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That's connectwithskip.com slash offer. We're about to get started, so let's turn to Daniel 10 as Skip begins today. Can you remember back in grade school? Can you remember the bullies that you had in your school? Did somebody come to mind when you think of the school bully? I don't know.
Maybe I'm looking at a couple of them right now. Maybe you were it, but I was not, but I do remember one particular bully who pushed and pushed and just got in my grill like all the time, and I knew he wanted to fight, and I wanted to steer clear of a fight, but this was one fight I couldn't avoid, and I remember that it was sixth grade or thereabouts, and it was break time, and I was in the restroom. No one else was there but this guy, and he just pushed and pushed and pushed, and so I'm a kid, you know, and I'm getting all red-faced, and I doubled up my fist, and I remember the last thing he said to me is, you wouldn't hit a guy with glasses, would you? And I decked him right there. No, I wouldn't clap for that. That was not good behavior.
I think I got kicked out of school for that one, but I wanted to steer clear of these things, but I couldn't do it. I had three brothers older than me. They were not pacifists, so there were certain altercations that no matter what I did, I could not avoid, and I just want to tell you today that there is a conflict that you're a part of. You may not realize it. You may not want it, but there's one conflict that you cannot be a pacifist in, and that is a spiritual conflict of which Daniel will see.
He'll get the picture of it, and so will you and I as we go through this chapter, Daniel chapter 10. The reason you're in this conflict is because of the family you belong to. Because you're a child of God, His enemy is on the prowl, and you're caught in the crossfires. The Gallup organization noted that most Americans will believe in God, but fewer will believe in a devil.
It's very convenient. Most will believe in heaven, fewer will believe in hell, and of those Americans, says Gallup, who believe there is a devil, about half say that he is a personal being like the devil declares, or the Bible declares the devil is. The other half just think that the devil is a word for an impersonal evil force that exists in the world by virtue of there being a lot of people.
It was C.S. Lewis who said, humanity falls into two equal but opposite errors concerning the devil. There's those who don't take him serious enough, and there's those who take him way too seriously. So there's denial on one hand, and there's obsession on the other hand. There are people who just flat deny that there's any spiritual reality whatsoever. If they can't see it, it doesn't exist. And can I just say that you don't have an enemy more powerful than the one you can't see. If you have an enemy on the other side of the hill and you don't know he's there, he's got you where he wants you. And I feel that even some believers, some Christians, just don't get engaged in spiritual warfare because they're absorbed with other things.
But then the opposite error is obsession. There's some people who see the devil everywhere and in everything, and they become so obsessed with him, and they become fascinated with him. And I would just say that the devil would love to have that kind of attention. I think the balance is found in the words of Dr. John White who said, have no delusions about the reality of demons or their hostility. They will also oppose you as you obey Christ. If you play it cool and decide not to be fanatic about Christianity, you will have no trouble from them.
But if you're serious about Christ being your Lord and God, you can expect opposition. Now in Daniel chapter 10, he gets the needed insight into the cosmic bully called the devil and some of his cohorts that will be working behind the scenes. Just to let you know where we're at, Daniel chapter 10 introduces us to the fourth and final vision of Daniel. Chapter 10 is the prologue, chapter 11 is the actual vision of conflicts for the nation of Israel as predicted, and chapter 12 is the epilogue. But chapter 10 begins in an odd kind of a way. I introduce you to verse 1 by just simply saying that there is a problem with Daniel, a concerning problem, something is bothering him. Verse 1, in the third year of Cyrus, the king of Persia, a message was revealed to Daniel whose name was called Belteshazzar, that's his Babylonian name. The message was true, but the appointed time was long and he understood the message and had understanding of the vision.
That's just sort of the opening statement to set up the rest of the chapter. In those days, I, Daniel, was mourning. You know what mourning is? Weeping, crying, lamenting. For three full weeks, I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all till three whole weeks were fulfilled.
Here's something you gotta know. This is the latter end of Daniel's career. He's in his mid to upper 80s, I'm gonna guess around 86 or 87 years of age. It's pretty significant to have an 86-year-old not eat for three weeks. Not only is he an aged man, not only does he not have the strength he once had, but now he's mourning, weeping, and fasting for three weeks. Question is, why is he weeping? Well, you'll notice in verse 1 it says it's the third year of Cyrus, the king of Persia.
Now, that's important. The Jews have been back in Jerusalem for two years. That's what Daniel saw and prayed for in previous chapters. He announced it, he prayed for it, now it's happened. If you're a Bible student, you know that in the book of Ezra, chapter 1, it tells us in the first year of Cyrus, the edict was given for the Jewish people to return from Babylon back to Jerusalem. Two years have passed. What has happened in those two years that would cause Daniel this kind of grief?
I think I know the answer to that. Number one, only a small portion of the Jewish people in Babylon actually returned to Jerusalem. It says in Ezra, chapter 2, it gives us the exact number, 49,697 Jews left Babylon and returned to Jerusalem. That's a drop in the bucket compared to how many stayed back in Babylon.
So that was enough grief to Daniel. They can go back. They don't want to go back. Why didn't they? Why did they stay?
For a number of reasons. They got comfortable. They've been there for a long time. They've raised kids there. They've become prosperous. They've become absorbed in the culture, paganized by the culture. They don't care about uprooting and roughing it and going to a place that is desolate, whether it's God's town or not. So they just flat didn't go.
Number two reason. Those that went back weren't very successful. They weren't able in two years time to establish the monarchy again.
Now, again, if you're a Bible student, you know that the Jews went back under the leadership of a guy named Zerubbabel of the lineage of King David to establish the monarchy. But when they got back, it took them seven months just to clear the rubble from the temple grounds. And eventually they were hassled by their enemies until the work until the work came to a screeching halt.
So here's Daniel. He's been praying and dreaming about them returning back. Only a few returned.
And those that did return were unsuccessful. The work has come to a stop. He's mourning. He's fasting. And as you'll see as we go on in the rest of the chapter, he has been praying. Now, Daniel is doing what Daniel always does whenever his heart is overwhelmed. He takes it to the Lord. He prays about it. He gets on his knees.
So here's what I want you to see. Daniel is about to be let in on a cosmic battle, a fight going on in the heavens that spills onto the earth. He's in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing. He's on his knees. He's praying. He's engaged in a spiritual battle, the battle of apathy, the battle of indifference, the battle of worldliness.
He's engaged by being on his knees. What do you do in a spiritual battle? Are you on your feet doing stuff, busy, or do you get on your knees first and pray? Hey, you want to know what most churches do whenever there's a spiritual battle? They have a committee meeting.
That's typically what happens. There's a problem. Let's have a meeting, and then let's have a committee assigned to address the problem. First thing they ought to do is get on their knees and pray. You know what most Christians do in a spiritual battle? Same thing most churches do.
Only their committee is smaller. They get their friends together, and they moan and groan and gripe and complain or gossip when they should be on their knees praying. In Ephesians chapter 6, the apostle Paul lists the weapons that we have at our disposal for spiritual warfare, and he writes, pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayer and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
I've committed this to memory because it speaks volumes. Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees. You can always do more than pray after you've prayed, but you really can't do more than pray until you've prayed. So Daniel knows what's happening back in Jerusalem, and it causes him to mourn and weep, and suddenly, suddenly, heaven breaks in on him. This concerning problem that he has gets eclipsed by a commanding presence.
Verse 4, now on the 24th day of the first month as I was by the side of the great river, that is the Tigris, I lifted my eyes and looked and behold, a certain man clothed in linen. Now stop right there. That's not unusual. And it sounds, if you stop here, like we're just dealing with a human being. But when you read the rest of it, it doesn't sound like any human you've ever met.
It doesn't sound like any human you've ever met. Whose waist was girded with a gold, the gold of Uphaz. Now if you're going to ask me afterwards, what is the gold of Uphaz?
I'll be able to tell you I have no idea what that is. But it must be the standard for pure gold in the Babylonian era at the time of Daniel. It would be like saying today, it's like the gold from Tiffany's.
It's just like the highest grade known. His body was like burl. Burl is translucent or transparent gold color. His face, like the appearance of lightning. His eyes like torches of fire. His arms and feet like burnished bronze in color and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude.
Wow, that's something to see. How does it react in Daniel's experience? I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision.
But a great terror fell upon them, so they fled to hide themselves. Therefore, I was left alone when I saw this great vision, and no strength remained in me, for my vigor was turned to frailty in me, and I retained no strength. Yet I heard the sound of his words.
While I heard the sound of his words, I was in a deep sleep on my face with my face to the ground. Now, can I just remind you again, Daniel's 86 years old. He has seen an eyeful in his lifetime, dreams, visions. He's interpreted other people's dreams and visions.
His heart is not what it used to be. And now this luminescent being stands in front of him. Daniel just collapses. The others, they get out of town.
They're out of Dodge. Now, what this illustrates for us, among other things, is the problem the earthly has interacting with the heavenly. When an earthly being encounters divinity, there's always a problem. And every now and then, somebody will get on Christian television and say, I saw God. And I've written a book about it.
And they almost sound prideful. And I'm thinking, if you ever saw God, dude, either you'd be dead or you'd be so humble about it. Because those in the Bible who had divine encounters had that kind of reaction. You remember, Job said to the Lord, I've heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you. Therefore, I abhor myself and I repent in dust and ashes. That's a guy who saw God.
Isaiah the prophet had a vision of God. And he said, woe is me. I am undone. I am a man of unclean lips.
Remember that? How did Peter react when he discovered who Jesus really was in that boat? He said, Lord, depart from me. I am a sinful man.
I can't even hang out with you. And then in Revelation chapter 6, it describes a group of people who will say to the mountains and the rocks, fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the lamb. So Daniel, he collapses. He swoons.
He can't handle it. The rest of the dudes are out of there. Now, who is this certain man in this apparition that he sees? Some have suggested it's the angel Gabriel mentioned in Daniel. Others suggest it's the angel Michael also mentioned in the book of Daniel. Others will say it's an angel of equal rank but unnamed. Now, to me, the context as well as the cross references point to only one person. This is what I believe.
You ready? It's the pre-incarnate Christ, which is not unusual if you're a student of the Old Testament. You know there's this personage called 50 times in the Old Testament the angel of the Lord who is oftentimes addressed as the Lord and is even worshiped as the Lord. Let me read something to you.
You don't have to turn there. I'll just read to you. I want you to listen to the description of another person that John sees in the book of Revelation chapter 1.
Just listen to see if it's any similarity to this. Now, in Revelation 1, John hears a voice, and the voice says, I'm the Alpha, the Omega, the beginning and the end. So I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands. And in the midst of the seven lampstands, one like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to his feet, girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were like white wool, white as snow, his eyes like a flame of fire, his feet like fine bronze or brass, as if refined in a furnace, and his voice as the sound of many waters. In his right hand, he had seven stars out of his mouth, when a sharp two-edged sword, and his countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead.
But he laid his hand on me and he said, Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last. Listen, I am he who lives, was dead, but behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen.
Who's that? That's Jesus Christ. The only difference between the vision is the hair.
Everything else is identical to it. So I'm submitting to you that what John saw was the post-resurrected Christ in his glory. What Daniel saw was the pre-incarnate Christ in his glory. Question is, why does he see this? Well, he's about to be told all of the future battles of Israel in the near future and in the far future, between Greece and Persia, Antiochus, Epiphanes, Alexander, etc.
He's going to be told details of that in chapter 11. But before that, he's going to be shown another cosmic battle taking place in heavenly places. So before the battle, God wants Daniel to know who's in charge, who the commanding officer is. Now again, if you're a Bible student, you remember the Battle of Jericho, right? The Book of Joshua. Remember in Joshua 5, before the Battle of Jericho, Joshua turns, he's the general, and he sees a man standing with his sword exposed, lifted up. And Joshua, the general, says, are you for us or are you for our enemies?
And the answer is classic. This person says, no. It's not what I asked. Are you for us or for our enemies?
No. But as the commander of the Lord's armies, I have come. And it says, Joshua fell down and worshipped.
And this person said, take the shoes off of your feet. You're standing on holy ground. For the same reason Joshua saw the commanding officer, the Lord, in charge of the Battle of Jericho, so Daniel sees who is in charge of the battle.
He's about to get the details to. In the spiritual battle you and I face, you better know who your commanding officer is or you're going to go into this and get bloodied and beaten. The Bible says in Hebrews, we should be looking unto Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith. That's Skip Hightake with a message from the series, I Dare You.
Find the full message as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. Now, let's go in the studio with Skip and Lenya as they share how we can stand firm in our spiritual battles. Skip, can you talk a bit more about the spiritual battle we're waging as God's children?
Well, we don't have a choice. We're in it. It's a cosmic conflict that existed before any of us were born. It existed before humans were on the earth.
It existed since Satan fell like lightning from heaven. Jesus said, I saw that event. And so the Bible then gives us, fills in some of the different colorings of that. But we happen to be in time and space in the midst of that conflict. It is a battle for the souls and minds of people. It's not a Democrat or Republican thing. It's a spiritual thing.
It's a kingdom thing. God wants people in his heaven. God wants people in his heaven, in his kingdom, but he won't force them to be there.
It's always a choice. So, how do you keep people from that? Satan would say, well, I'll give them a lot of distractions.
I'll get them busy with a lot of other things. There's just innumerable things that would keep you away from the most important thing. So, we have to understand we're in that battle. Then second, we have to understand that there is an end to the battle and ultimately we're going to be victors. So, the ultimate battle is won, but the wars and conflicts we may or may not win. We can lose the battle of temptation. We can lose the battle in a number of different ways.
So, we have to understand that and so they're important. And then third, we have to understand we have a commanding officer who gives us all that we need. Just like if you join the Army or the Marines or the Navy or the Air Force are going to give you a bomb, they're going to give you a plane, they're going to give you a gun, whatever it takes to fight the battle. God gives you what you need and you need to be around other soldiers too, right?
You can't just fight it alone. Ephesians, we have the armor of God and then the promises that he's made us more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. And so it's just comforting. If you're on the sidelines, you've been hit kind of hard, or you have failed in temptation, know that God's children might fall down, but they get up again. And God can shine you off, dust you off and put you back in.
That's good. Thanks, Skip and Lenya. We hope this conversation inspires you to pursue greatness in God's eyes. And we want to invite you to help others find this same inspiration with a gift to keep these biblical teachings on the air. Just call 800-922-1888. That's 800-922-1888 or visit connectwithskip.com slash donate. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate.
Thank you. Next time on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip shares encouragement to help you engage in our spiritual conflict with confidence. Make a connection, make a connection at the foot of the cross and cast all burdens on his word. Make a connection, connection. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-21 05:12:43 / 2023-02-21 05:22:31 / 10