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Spiritual Wickedness in High Places

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
July 22, 2020 8:00 am

Spiritual Wickedness in High Places

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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July 22, 2020 8:00 am

Taken captive and marched off to another country, Daniel and his friends have some amazing adventures in Babylonia. But through it all, they are faithful to God. As you enter into their story, you'll learn more about: the sovereignty of God, and why we must be holy and Christian living in a secular culture. In the latter half of this book, Daniel's own visions are recorded, and--in them--we catch glimpses of the future. How are these visions relevant to our lives?

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Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet Ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals featuring the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce for more information please contact us by calling toll-free one 804 88 18 and now the alliance is pleased to present the Bible study our bearing you to think and act biblically been reflecting at all carefully on the book of Daniel is way and starting out. You may have noticed that as the book unfolds the visions of Daniel tend to become increasingly lengthy and detailed. Another way of saying the same thing is to say that the latter visions explant a bottle visions that are given earlier. This is especially true when we come to the final portion of the book which we do as we begin the 10th chapter up to this point. Each of the visions, says occupied no more than one chapter about suddenly we come to the end. In chapters 10, 11 and 12 all concerned the same thing. Vision itself is introduced in chapter 7 with what is really a preface to it vision is unfolded at length in chapter 11 and then chapter 12 is something of a postscript now it's important to see how the vision came to Daniel. Daniel had been morning and praying seeking a revelation of God as a result of the response he had to the vision, the was given earlier and is recorded in chapter 9. Recall from our study of the fact that the vision was a discouraging thing from the point of view of the history of the Jewish people said a number of promising things they were going to go back to their land. The temple was going to be rebuilt all of acts was uplifting.

But then, toward the end of that vision.

There was this revelation of the time of great trouble and persecution to come upon the nation. I guess Daniel is see reflected upon. That might well have wondered whether in such a time of intense persecution. His people, the Jewish people would survive until there may have been an historical reason for the dismay and warning that he expresses here in the beginning of the 10th chapter he identifies this time of prayer and seeking God's face in the revelation given unfolded in chapter 11 as being in the third year of Cyrus king of Persia probably that refers to the third year of Cyrus is actual rain in Babylon, which is where Daniel himself was headquartered, and if that's the case here involved is the year 535 and 534 BC I would probably be just a few years before Daniel's death because he be about 90 years old this time that the real significance of backdating is that it came just one or two years after the departure of the first of the exiles to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple at degree was given in the first year of Cyrus when it was given approximately 50,000 people returned €43,000 plus about 7000 servants and 200 musicians. They went back under the leadership of Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah by appointment of Cyrus, and Joshua the priest and the first things seem to go pretty well. They returned in the summer and by all they had cleared the temple area they set up the great stone altar once again. So the daily sacrifices could begin and then by the spring. They had begun to relay the foundations of the temple within the work stoppage stopped for a variety of factors. Certainly discouragement the size of the class can opposition and some changes in the government.

But anyway, to stop her 15 years and it wasn't much later that God sent the minor prophet hi guy the 10th of the minor prophets to tell the people to get going on the task again which they did. The book of Haggai is all about that how it may well be that by this time. By the time in which Daniel was praying and received the vision he already gotten word back from Jerusalem that the work of the temple, it ceased so Daniel, who in the previous chapter was as I pointed out when we studied it undoubtedly encouraged by the fact that the years of the captivity were drawing to an end. Jerusalem would be rebuilt in the temple reestablished now learns this great work had been set aside. Perhaps it was with that in mind, that he began to reflect the time of trouble was prophesied in the previous vision and grieve and mourn his people. Other number of ways in which we can study this 10th chapter, we can study it in terms of Daniel himself fact that he was concerned for his people, and what might be happening so far away in Jerusalem. We can study it for what it teaches us about prayer and it was certainly a man of prayer and this is a great example of it and I think chiefly this 10th chapter teaches us about spiritual warfare kind of spiritual battles that go on unseen by us in the heavenly realms, and which, in the final analysis to determine so much of what happens in the world where we do see how a story is this. Daniel says that he prayed for a period of three weeks and he was greatly distressed as he prayed. Then one day on the 24th day of the first month of the year 24th day of the month the basin is about 10 days after Passover this time of morning and seeking God's face. He suddenly had a vision of an angel now in the Bible.

Angels frequently appear and yet our generally not described, please let much detail here we have a unique description of an angel. He appeared as a man dressed in linen with the belt of finest gold around his waist's body. Since Daniel was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice was like the sound of a multitude.

This personage was so overpowering, and his heavenly glory that Daniel was terrified by those who were with him didn't actually see the vision but they fled away something of the presence of the angel must've induced terror in them and they left.

But Daniel remained at his Daniel stood there. He said he was so overpowering the became helpless. His strength ebbed away, and finally he fell and was lying on the ground as if he were in a deep sleep even later when the angel of the Lord came to him and touched him and raised him up and began to speak to him. Daniel said he was still trembling. First of all, as he was there in his hands and knees and finally trembling as the angel raised him to his feet.

Angel spoke about the angel had to tell them before he even began telling about the vision is that he had been involved in a great spiritual battle that had hindered him coming to Daniel started out to bring Daniel a message of God.

Three weeks before, but Daniel began praying, but he had been resisted by what we must understand was a spiritual being. And here's the way he puts don't be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before God. Your words were heard might come in response to the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me 21 days and Michael Michael is the Archangel Michael, one of the chief princes, that is, of heaven, came to help me because I was detained there with the kings of Persia. I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future. The vision concerns the time yet to come is not remarkable. I don't know of any passage like that or even approaching that in all the word of God. Here we have a revelation by an angel of God of actual spiritual warfare that hindered this great illustrious overpowering terrifying personage from coming to Daniel for a period of three weeks and he wasn't able to come until God sent Michael the Archangel to tip the scales of the heavenly warfare in the direction of the heavenly messenger after the battle is won a game. Daniel division refined here. I say I don't know anything like that all the rest of the Bible. On the other hand, although there's nothing quite like it anywhere else in the Bible does fit in with what we are told elsewhere about spiritual warfare told always a want about it but were told enough about it to know that what we're engaged in here is only part of the battle that's going on.

I begin to think of passages that throw insight on the spiritual warfare. I think of the first and second chapters of Joe first first chapter of Job tells us of the day in heaven when Satan and his hosts came to present themselves before God and the holy angels brought a medication called attention to Joe and his righteousness, he said to Satan, you considered my servant Job, there is none like him in all the earth. These blameless and upright before both God and man, Satan replied with damaging accusations, which is what Satan is chiefly involved in doing Satan said well no wonder he's blameless and worship you.

You take care of them. You set a hedge around him. I been trying to get to them, but you protected it. Why, if you take away the hedge and allow me to strike him take away all his possessions you made him a rich man. Why you'll see how long his devotion. Last you'll curse you to your face God who had initiated this particular test show that his people love them because I love them because of what he gives them said, well, alright, you can take away his possession and so Satan did. Satan went out from the presence of God he struck everything that Joe Pat, including his children out of the end of that Job tryouts did not accuse God of wrongdoing. He said they could have I come from my mother naked will I go from this world raised the name of the Lord. Satan is in heaven. God raises the question again, and Satan seems in my judgment to be just a bit sheepish at this point, God says, where have you been.

He said well I been going up and down the world.

That's what I always tell everybody else of course knew that Satan actually been striking Joe but God called attention. He said how about Job you didn't do it and Satan said well he still has his health in his life. If you let me take away is healthy. Curse you, and God said all right you can do that and Satan took away Job's health but at the very end. Job testified shall a man not receive evil from the Lord as he receives good and again Job did not accuse God of wrongdoing. There you have an example an insider glimpse in the heavens and the spiritual warfare goes on. I think also of that great 22nd chapter of first Kings.

That's the chapter in which the prophet of the Lord. Michalak is called before King Ahab to give a word of the Lord concerning the battle agreement Gilead and Machias is on medication that he had a vision of heaven and all the spirits were standing around the heavenly throne. And they were debating how they could entice Ahab to go in the battle and fall dying. Arraignment Gilead and they had one idea and another, and finally one of the spirit said well I will go out of the Alliance spirit in the mouth of his prophets, so God said that's what you should do text says God sent a lying spirit in the mouths of the prophets of Ahab and so the 400 profits influenced by this lying spirit said go out and fight Raymond Gilead and God will give it into your hand course it wasn't true that it wasn't the word of the Lord.

Michalak was one spoke the word of Lord but again you see you have an insight into this warfare. I think of the third great text of the Bible third chapter of the minor prophet Zechariah is a scene of Joshua the high priests ministering of the altar and the temple of the Lord… Early in the years of the exile, the literal temple had been built, so it must be in the vision. The vision of the temple yet to be built, or perhaps a heavenly temple. Anyway, Joshua is standing there and were told that Satan is standing by his side. Joshua is trying to ministries ministering in filthy garments and no doubt Satan is there to choose again. Robinson Scripture stand for moral righteousness and Satan is pointing to Joshua and saying how can you have a man like that worship you and serve you on behalf of the people. Why look how impure he is. And God rebukes Satan that an angel who was standing there says take his filthy garments from him. Given clean garments and put a clean turban on is that the clean garments signify the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed Joshua's account must close that righteousness. Joshua is able to stand again your sleeves and insight in the spiritual warfare because of the very end of the Bible, the book of Revelation and there we find the literal battle describe in the 12th chapter text says there was war 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.

Great dragon was hurled down, that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan leads the whole world astray was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him, and I heard a loud voice in heaven say now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony great New Testament commentary on the spiritual warfare is six chapter of Paul's letter to the Ephesians. We might think. As we read passages like those I just referred to that somehow that warfare goes on in heaven as if it had no relationship to ourselves just happens there in the outcome determines what's going to happen on earth, we might say, well that is a fatalistic picture yet that's not the way Paul talks about it as he writes to the Ephesians. He says there is a great spiritual warfare. He says battle is going on in heaven because we wrestle not against flesh and blood merely though.

We wrestle against flesh and blood to what he says we wrestle against principalities and powers in spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places. We might be overpowered by that or frightened by Paul says snow.

Although it is true that our warfare is far greater than anything we say. Although it goes beyond the physical contest. We have a low it involves spiritual powers nevertheless were able to stand against the because God is on our side. We can stand in his strength. Be strong. He says in strength that God provides and put on the armor that he gives you to withstand spiritual onslaught. What Paul is saying as he writes to the Ephesians is that we have a part in this warfare and its undoubtedly for that reason that we have these glimpses know what is going on here in Daniel and other portions of the word of God.

When I told her great deal about the angelic host. Those holy unfallen angels are those unholy fallen Angels known as demons but were told all we need to know all of the Angels to begin with, that there are vast numbers of race around the throne of God and they praise him day and night. Revelation speaks upon thousands thousands of 10,000s upon 10,000 more than can be numbered. These heavenly angels. These holy angels are also sent to protect the people of God. Jesus said on one occasion. Is it possible for me to call down legions of angels to protect me if I do that, God the father will certainly send them of those angels are available. We talk about guardian angels. Sometimes we talk as if each Christian had a guardian angel. I don't know whether that's true or not. I'm not sure the Bible says that it works exactly that way, but there certainly are host of angels, and they are there to protect the people of God, and on some occasions as here in Daniel, they have brought revelations of things that are needed to know the other hand, are the fallen angels were not told a great deal about them either. But we know that when Satan about leaving his first estate in rebellion against God ask host of the angels fell with it and became the demons. These demons are not infinite in number, but they are large in number and the rollout under the direction of Satan, that great accuser to attack and harm if possible the people of God. Certainly they try to hinder work of God in the world, which is what happened here in the incident.

We have the 10th chapter of Daniel Calvin in one of his writings wrote about these angels saying we have been forewarned that an enemy relentlessly threatens us an enemy was a very embodiment of rash boldness of military prowess of crafty wiles of untiring zeal and haste of every conceivable weapon skill in the science of warfare must then bend our every effort to this goal, we should not let ourselves be overwhelmed by carelessness or pain heartedness. On the contrary, with courage rekindled stand our ground in combat.

Certainly that's what Paul is urging upon Christians when he writes about the spiritual warfare and Ephesians. We really need to reflect on the limits of these evil forces sometimes you know when we talk about the devil and think of them as a spirit being replying to think of them is more or less the equivalent of the as if we had two great and equally balanced powers of the universe. God good and Satan, evil, and when we think that way we tend to be discouraged because you can say what direction the battle will go. Satan really is God you know is we read the Scripture on the one hand we are warned of Satan is a great a very powerful enemy. We are the other hand, encouraged by being told of his limitations, God, for example, his omnipresence that means God is everywhere. Satan is not Satan is a creature that means he can only be in one place and one time so he doesn't possess this great ability of God to be everywhere at once. God is omnipotent.

That means he's able to do everything. Satan is not Satan is great and powerful God permits him to move about a success like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour but is not all-powerful God is the powerful one of God is still in control of history. God is omniscient God knows everything. Satan is not Satan's been around long time and he said many many centuries to observe human nature and even to reflect on the way God works in the world. No doubt he is very wise, certainly much wiser than we are about is able to make three guesses probably the predictions of fortunetellers and other dividers when they're not outright fakes are based on this kind of ability of Satan and his demonic legions to guess what might happen, but all the same is not omniscient he doesn't know the future God is the one knows that the end in Daniel and in other books of the Bible God knows the future and can guarantee the future because he controls the future tells us these things in order. We might know that the battle is Lawrenson not Satan. Anyway we come to the end of this chapter and when we come to the end of the chapter we find this angel whom God had sent to bring the vision of chapter 11 to Daniel encouraging him and strengthening him receive the vision and to carry on faithfully for the Lord until the very end. That's what God does with us. God comes to encourage us and strengthen us if we should think of any imagined ability. We may have to stand against spiritual forces of our own strength. We obviously are greatly diluted because we can't stand Satan will be as successful in bringing about our overthrow as he was in bringing about the fall of Adam and Eve, way back in the very earliest days of the history of our race live on the other hand, we draw close to the Lord Jesus Christ as were encouraged to do.

If we pray, as Daniel and the other great saints, the Bible, pray, asking God to strengthen them and keep them direct them in the way they should going to prosper their way then God was faithful to his promises will do that sometimes.

You know, even when we fail to pray God draws closer the special ways he did in the case of Peter Peter Reiger Peter who thought well he could stand in his own strength because after all he was Peter. He was so much stronger so much wiser so much bolder than any of the other disciples. He said the Lord even though they should all forsake you. I Peter will stand.

I'll stand by you to the Marriott even if it cost me my life and he fell soon as the first temptation game needed by the Lord Jesus told him, even before that time I have prayed for you Peter, that your faith will not fail you know you'll deny me.

Time will come after that that you will be converted. Turn from your evil ways and be strengthened again when you're converted and strengthened and use that experience to strengthen your brother is of the goddess stands with us ourselves. We are infinitely weak Lord Jesus Christ. We are infinitely strong. We have a great privileges fellow soldiers with Jesus Christ of engaging in the spiritual warfare under the direction and blessing of our commander-in-chief. See the battle move in the direction of spiritual victory the praise and glory of our great Savior and Cmdr. Jesus Christ the Lord's prayer our father, bless the study to our hearts, we confess that we can think very seldom about spiritual warfare, we think, always in terms of what we see in feeling no not what stands behind it and for that reason your causes and righteousness often seem relatively unimportant as we evaluate our lives when our father waking us these things rented the story such as this in Daniel might give us a glimpse and what is really going on as we see it, we might be encouraged to draw near to Jesus Christ for the strength we so desperately need. Our father reassurance as we study your word that all things really are in your hands that you really do stand by your people. The what we do really does matter because you have placed us here to be part in her of this great spiritual battle. Thank you for what you will do and have done in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. You have been listening to the Bible study our production of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals the alliance of confessing Evangelicals exist to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of Reformation theologians from decades, even centuries gone by. We seek to provide contemporary Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. The alliance ministry includes the Bible study are featuring Dr. James voice every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Rieke and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Gray Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a full list of radio stations carrying our programs or to make a contribution.

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