The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, Daniel 10:13A couple of things should jump out at us from this, not the least of which is the spiritual war that was taking place in the background of the physical conflict. The scene is one in which a messenger from God was sent to Daniel, who was in exile, now under the rule of King Cyrus of Persia. On the way, the prince of the kingdom of Persia – no doubt a demonic, spiritual being, intercepted the messenger and withstood him for twenty-one days. At this point, Michael, who is here described as one of the chief princes, later as Daniel’s prince, and in chapter 12 as the “prince of your people”, comes to the aid of this messenger in his struggle.
This is a fascinating behind the scenes glance at the spiritual war that is operating in much of the physical conflicts taking place before our eyes. As some have noted this particular case informs us that the Jews (and Daniel) are not simply engaged in a physical struggle against the King of Persia, rather there are spiritual, demonic forces at work. A messenger from God was bringing a word of comfort and encouragement to Daniel yet was intercepted and held up for some twenty-one days by demonic forces at work in Persia.
How then does this relate to us today? Have we taken seriously the spiritual battles and forces that are taking place behind the scenes? Or are we focused on what is seen?
Consider This: In Ephesians 6:12 a familiar verse reminds us that we do not war against flesh and blood, “but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” just as we saw with Daniel. So much of the confusion going on today, especially among Christians, is failing to recognize who the enemy is and subsequently fighting with improper weapons. Policies and politicians will not help us. No, the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (2 Cor. 10:4).
In our present day, it is rather obvious that there is a war going on. Not only through our own observations, but repeatedly we are told that we are in the midst of a war. Depending on who you listen to, some are claiming there is a war against conservativism; others under the guise of liberalism are claiming there is a war on justice, equality, and even democracy; still others see an assault taking place on the norms of life, what we are used to or have grown accustomed to. If we were to keep pressing the issue, we know for decades now, there have been Christians engaging in the so-called culture war. Pressing even deeper, another contingent has defined the present war as that between Christian Nationalism and [Gnostic] Supranationalism. (This of course is not to neglect the many military wars taking place around the globe.) In these wars, some have called out an enemy of socialism, communism, Marxism, or fascism. Logically, in war one must know who the enemy is in order to determine the proper weapon to use. Herein lies the problem with much of the confusion today, which has drawn in many Christians as well.
Until we, as believers, start recognizing that our primary war is spiritual and that our chief enemies are those that dwell within (indwelling sin) and those spiritual forces and authorities in heavenly places, then we will fail to utilize the proper weapons. We do not, and indeed cannot, fight spiritual wars with physical weapons. We ought to remind ourselves of the words from God’s messenger who visited Daniel that, “from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words”. Daniel had sought to understand God’s Word; he had humbled himself before the Lord; he had prayed to God for mercy and confessed not only his personal sins, but the sins of the nation; and Daniel fasted. These were his weapons and they were effective before the ears of Almighty God.
Clothe yourself with the armor of God and take up the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God; Set your heart to understand it; Humbly seek the Lord in prayer confessing sin personally and corporately; Ask Him for mercy upon His people and justice upon His enemies; and considering fasting as an expression of the desperate times we are in.
Soli Deo Gloria