The War in the Heavens
...Behind the Scenes of Earth’s Conflicts
By Ed Corley
THE DANIEL ARTICLES could go on and on. Never, we believe, has the Holy Spirit been so ready to open our understanding—nor has it been so vital that we know what is transpiring behind the scenes of the conflicts we face as now. The knowledge that shall be increased in this matter as we search to and fro through the book seems boundless. All we can do is commit ourselves to the Lord and ask that His Spirit continue to lead us into what He will have us to know.
You will recall the Hebrew and Chaldean word meaning "to know" that we found one time— exactly—in each of the final six chapters of Daniel. These are the vision chapters. Each chapter directs us to a dimension of knowledge ready to be released in the time of the end. There is the knowledge relative to the saints and the Kingdom of God in Daniel 7. There is the knowledge relative to the antiChrist and his opposition to the Government of God in Daniel 8. There is the knowledge of God’s prophetic timetable and purpose in Daniel 9. Then, there is the knowledge of what transpires in the heavens relative to events on earth in Daniel 10. And finally, in Daniel 11, there is the knowledge of God Himself and the way His people come to know Him in the final time of trial. Daniel 12 points us to the increase of knowledge in all the above.
WITH THIS ARTICLE, WE APPROACH THE KNOWLEDGE OF what transpires in the heavens as it relates to events in the earth. This is vital for the last days. My understanding in this matter was forming in me back in 1959 while I was on a mission in South America. I had gone there in obedience to a vision and under the spiritual covering of brethren in upstate New York, only to become baffled on the field. Young spirit that I was, I had tried every spiritual device I knew for a breakthrough only to be left cold and with little indication of God’s hand at work. Besides this, the brother who had come with me had returned to the States and I was alone. Rather frightened and with no sense of direction, it came to me one morning that I should address the principality that ruled the nation. I was there as an outsider, but had come to know that the authority of the Lord Jesus reached everywhere. Having but little prior guidance or instruction in this matter, I simply rose up and spoke to him—or it. I said, "Evil prince ruling British Guyana, I bind you in the Name of Jesus."
With that there came the realization I had begun to touch the point of my hindrance. What began happening from that day brought me into an amazing flow of life and ministry that bears its effects to this day in many nations.
It was in those days that Daniel 10 began to take my attention. Although the war that raged in the heavens about which this chapter tells seemed far greater than any thing happening around me, the principle of spiritual warfare, I believed, was the same. The participants were apparently archangels and the contest was over Daniel receiving a word from out of the heavens. But, it all pointed powerfully to the principles of spiritual warfare Paul laid out for us in Ephesians 6. A significant difference is that by the time the understanding of Ephesians came, the Lord Jesus had won the contest. Thus, we, simple believers, have the authority in His Name to face principalities like the one we learn about in the Daniel chapter.
Daniel 10 GIVES SOME POINTS OF SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING that will help us in the conflict that rages now. Initially, what Daniel wrote about may seem remote to us, but the implications of what happened around him are extremely important for us upon whom the ends of the world are come—I Cor 10:11. That early battle in the heavens and the word that came to Daniel all pertained to a war that would rage at the time of the end—Daniel 12:4.
Daniel 10:1 makes a statement we might easily pass over as containing mere introductory material, but it contains enlightenment we need if we are to gain understanding in what came to Daniel. Take note of its points. In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia 1a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and 2the thing was true, but 3the time appointed was long: and 4he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.
1. A thing was revealed unto Daniel. Thing is from the Hebrew dabar. This is a complex word. Its most basic meaning is "a word spoken about some matter." 394 times in the Old Testament it means a word which came from God. But sometimes it is translated matter, sometimes thing. It is close in meaning to the Greek word logos which means "a word"—plus the life and power of the idea behind the word. Both the Hebrew and the Greek indicate a word like a seed holding its germ of life ready for planting. Was revealed means the word brought the disclosure of something once held in secret. It contained a mystery no one could know except through divine enlightenment.
2. And the thing was true. Again thing is from the Hebrew dabar. True comes from the word aman and means "to be faithful and sure." We get our word "amen" from it. The word that came to Daniel carried with it the sure faithfulness of God. This is important, for its prophecy speaks of many disturbing matters. If God’s faithfulness could not be discerned through it, one might fall under its weight.
3. But the time appointed was long. That we have understanding here is important Time appointed is from the Hebrew tsabah. More clearly, it means "a military engagement, a time of warfare." It can also mean "a host of warriors." It is the word used frequently by the Prophets to speak of the Lord of hosts. Was long is from the Hebrew gadol which means "to be great or to be lengthy." Thus, the word that came to Daniel, and which flows on through chapters 11 and 12, pertained to a long time of war--or to a host of warriors who would participate in a great conflict. That war was raging then in the heavens. It has raged on through the ages because of the satanic quest for Christ’s Throne. Frequently it has broken out on the earth. It will become more intense as the time of the end comes on. As hostility in the heavens increases, so will hostility increase upon the earth. Behind the wars that rage on earth are wars that rage in the heavens. We see nation raised against nation--or person against person--as if driven by a demonic determination to conquer. In Mt 24:3-14, a great end-time passage, Jesus makes reference to the raising up of nation against nation as one of the marks of the near end of the age. Ungodly forces in the heavens make puppets of nations and thrust them into conflict one with the other. As the great wrath of Satan (Rev 12:12) toward believers increases, it becomes apparent the increased wars, thus generated, will turn toward the wiping out of believers. Jesus spoke of this. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for My Name’s sake—Mt. 24:9.
We must not remain blind to these facts. This is the reason we look through the Daniel passages. We receive help also from the Lord Jesus, Paul, and the Prophets to understand wherein shall lie our triumph in the evil day.
THE FINAL CONTEST, BEGUN IN AGES PAST IN THE HEAVENS, will reach its climax upon earth in a confrontation between the Christ of God and the anti-Christ. II Thes 2:8 gives the definitive statement regarding this final battle. And then shall that Wicked (One) be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming (the epiphany of His Parousía). This means the very outshining of Christ’s presence—His Parousía—will overcome the Wicked One and render him powerless. It will bring to an end the contest we first learn about in Gen 3:15 where we find God’s word to that old serpent, which is the Devil, in the Garden of Eden. God said, And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed; it (He) shall bruise thy head (a mortal wound), and thou shalt bruise His heel (an attack on His body, not a mortal wound).
That early Genesis word told of a "war" to the end—like the word in Daniel tells us. Daniel reveals clearly what shall happen to the seed of the serpent…But he shall be broken without hand—8:25. Again,..And that determined shall be poured upon the desolate (the one causing desolation)—9:25. Then again, ... Yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him—11:45. Could not the spirit of His mouth, with which the Lord shall consume the Wicked One (II Thes 2:8), bring the final outflowing of that faithful word delivered to Daniel, and to which Gen 3:15 points?
4. And he understood the thing. When we understand this phrase, we begin to learn how Daniel gained his understanding in the matter presented to him. The Hebrew word from which understood comes is bin. It finds frequent use in this section of Daniel. It comes whenever understanding is released through divine inspiration. We can call it "prophetic understanding." There is another kind of understanding that comes through one’s search after truth. This is where we get the word maschil.
See the following passages. In each case the heavenly messenger was speaking to Daniel and setting his mind free to understand—supernaturally—except in the last instance. There the reference is to a company of people at the time of the end who will thus understand. · And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding—Daniel 9:22. · Again, thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter—9:23. · And again, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee—10:11. · And yet again, Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days—10:14.
Then there is the revealing statement of 12:10. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. This means, while many are being purified and refined for God’s Kingdom—apparently helped on in the process by attacks from the enemy—the wicked will become more wicked. Wicked is from the Hebrew rasha. In this verse it is in its plural form. It points to the restless activity of the fallen nature in those given over to the Wicked One. In his restless pursuit of Christ’s Throne he draws a host with him. But, of course, his unholy quest for control of all government will be confounded by his inability to wipe out the people he fears and hates most—the believers committed to the Lord Jesus Christ. These are the saints of Daniel 7. None of those joined with the Wicked One shall understand. Their minds will be void of divine inspiration and will only come to confusion. But the wise shall understand.
The wise are the Maschilim. They are the ones who have given themselves to the prudent and unwavering quest for truth in Christ Jesus. To them, as it did to Daniel, an impartation of understanding will come. It will carry them through the darkest hour the world has ever known—with God’s light, protection, and provision.
IT IS IN Daniel 10 THAT IT BEGINS TO BECOME APPARENT there is a realm in the heavens ruled by forces opposing God. They oppose His Government in the earth. It was Paul, particularly, in the New Testament who addressed this. In Eph 6:10-18 he spoke of four levels of spiritual opposition in the heavens. Daniel 10:13 has given us an early insight into this where we have the heavenly messenger telling Daniel he would have come to him sooner, but the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days. He went on to say, But, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. Considering all the context, I believe this was Gabriel speaking with Daniel, as in Daniel 8 and Daniel 9. We note how he was hindered in coming because the prince of the Kingdom of Persia stood against him.
Daniel was at that time in the Kingdom of Persia. He knew its king. But this was another king rising in opposition. It was a spiritual force, a principality if you please. He ruled from a region in the heavens. It was he who did not want Daniel to receive the prophetic word Gabriel would bring. That word would foretell the overthrow of wickedness in the earth. So strong was this king that he held off one of the mightiest archangels of God for three full weeks. Then Michael came to help. Daniel 12:1 designates him the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people. There is no reason for us to conclude that this contest was any other that one archangel coming to the aid of another. The chief warrior came to the aid of the chief messenger.
Gabriel then said, I remained there with the kings of Persia. This is an obscure statement, rather difficult to understand. It probably means after Michael’s arrival, he was superfluous in the battle and could leave on his mission to Daniel.
WHILE THE PROPHETS SAW THIS REALM OF WARFARE in the heavens, it was Paul who gave us the most clear instruction regarding it. He helps us see that we who have found our position in Christ Jesus are now called into the contest, bringing all His triumph with us. See the following:
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong (be empowered, be invigorated)
· in the Lord,
· and in the power [kratos] of his might [ischuos]. This means "in the muscle-power strength of His Government.")
11 Put on the whole armour of God (like the full heavy armour worn into the thickest battle),
that ye may be able (empowered)
to stand against the wiles of the devil (the methodical and cunning devices he has plotted for your defeat).
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood,
· but against principalities (pros tas archas, —face to face with the principle spiritual forces that rule in areas of assigned government),
· against powers (pros tas exousias, —face to face with spirit forces placed in authority under the principalities, like those that rule institutions, corporations, movements, etc.),
· against the rulers of the darkness of this world, (pros tour kosmokratoras tou toutous tou aionos toutou, —face to face with the spiritual forces that hold this present world system captive in its darkness),
· against spiritual wickedness in high places (pros ta pneumatika tes ponerias en tois epouraniois, —face to face with the wicked spirits that come with all their restless activity from the heavenly regions and seek individuals whom they can oppress, suppress, depress, or possess.)
13 Wherefore · take unto you the whole armour of God,
· that ye may be able to withstand · in the evil day, and having done all,
· to stand.
In this verse, take unto you is from a word meaning "to pick up," but it could mean "retrieve." Thus, "if you have lost it, get it back." The whole armour equips a person for heavy armed contest, with no part of the body uncovered, except perhaps the back. Thus, we learn always to face the enemy as the word against (face to face)—four times in the previous verse—suggests. For a believer, there is no preparation for defeat or military retreat. In the most bold strike the enemy can bring, even death itself, we stare him down and fix our gaze on the Lord Jesus Who has given us the hope of His resurrection. There is no defeat here!
· That ye may be able to withstand clearly means "that you may be empowered to resist, or, to stand against." This is what the king of Persia in Daniel 10 did against Gabriel. Here, however, the whole thing is reversed and we are able to stand against the likes of him.
· In the evil day means the time when life becomes full of labor and pain brought on by the evil one himself. It means the day of mischief, evil intent, deception, and malice—all brought on with the intention of wearing out the saints of the Most High. But, right in the statement of this verse, we see the hope that we shall be able to withstand it all.
· Having done all is from a word with military meaning. It could mean "having come through every conflict in triumph." It is the word of an overcomer who, having come through every battle, continues to prevail in the final battle.
· To stand is the stance of final victory.
Take note again of the frequent use of the word pros in verse 12. It is a Greek Preposition here translated against. It means "face to face with." It points us to a face to face confrontation with the spiritual forces that oppose the Kingdom of God.
Read Eph 6: 10-18 over—and over—till the energy of its might has entered your own spirit. It will help equip you for your contest with the wicked one.
THERE IS SOMETHING ELSE IN Daniel 10 to claim our attention. It is the working of the principle that God’s strength can make its greatest manifestation through vessels of weakness. If we can see it, we might conclude the greater the human weakness the greater can be the divine strength manifested. Paul knew something of this and associated it with the grace of God. In II Cor 12:9 he tells what God told him about this very matter. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. This means, "My dynamic power comes to its fullness in human weakness." Then, wonderfully strange man that he was, Paul went on to say, Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Then he could say, Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might—Eph 6:10. We will return to this statement.
Take note first, however, of what Daniel said about his weakness. These statements are drawn from Daniel 10:8-17.
·There remained no strength in me. ·I retained no strength. · I have retained no strength. ·There remained no strength in me. He was an old man 89 years old, he had been fasting three weeks, he was the subject of a war, and he was apparently being visited by an archangel. These are all reasons for weakness. Then he told what happened. Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and ·he strengthened me, and said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee,· be strong, yea,·be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, · I was strengthened and said, Let my Lord speak; · for thou hast strengthened me—:18,19.
Later there is this powerful word of Daniel 11:32. And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he (the vile person) corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. This word—one of the most powerful statements there is—comes in the midst of the word about the war on the saints. While some are doing wickedly against the covenant, yielding to the iniquity that is making the earth ripe for judgment, others are coming to the place where they do know their God. It is these who shall be strong, and do exploits!
In Ephesians we learn this strength comes in relationship with the Lord with the release of His power and His might in us. Power in Eph 6:10 is from the powerful Greek word kratos. It means the power of government, the kind that conquers and sets up a new rule. So, He will set up His rule in us—and through us. In the same verse, might is from ischuos. It means the kind of power—muscle power, if you please—that is exerted in the binding of a strong man. There is no force inspired by demon or developed by man but that the might of God’s Government can tame it. Both of these powers were released in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Their strength and their might are ready to move in us, and through us, who stand with Him.
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