Daniel, God’s Man in the Field (Part XXIII): Spiritual Warfare

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Daniel, God’s Man in the Field (Part XXIII): Spiritual Warfare

A Sermon Delivered at
The Compassion Internet Church

2 January 2011

Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References:

Genesis 3:1-7
        4:6-8
Isaiah 11:9
Daniel 10:20-21
Matthew 24:6-7
Galatians 5:16-26
Ephesians 6:10-17
Revelation 6:15-17

Preparation Verse: Isaiah 11:9

9 They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
As the waters cover the sea.

As we enter the beginning of this new year, we find very little difference from what we experienced the end of last year.

We are still “hearing of wars and rumors of wars” and “nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes.” (Matthew 24:6-7)

And nearly every day we are hearing someone ask about why God doesn’t do something to end all the indifference, injustice, violence, and suffering that destroys the lives of millions of our fellow human beings and billions of animals every year.

So today we are going to try to answer part of this question.

The first thing that we need to do is keep an open mind about what God is doing to end the suffering in this world.

Let’s begin by looking at what happened in God’s perfectly created paradise of Eden when the angel Lucifer enticed the serpent to entice Eve to disobey the Lord God. (Genesis 3:1-7)

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”

2 The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;

3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’”

God did not say anything about touching the fruit of the tree. Eve added this part herself, and we believe the serpent picked up on this error, and used it to entice her by holding the fruit.

4 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!

Eve sees that the serpent isn’t dying, so she continues to listen

5 “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

We also believe that at this point the serpent begins to eat the fruit.

6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.

The first spiritual battle was lost and sin entered the world.

What we read in this Bible passage appears to take place in the physical realm of this earth, but it is also taking place in the spiritual realm.

In fact, the greatest battle is taking place in the spiritual realm.

We also believe that this is when Lucifer, the angel of light, was cast out of heaven and became Satan, the tempter of all of us.

In this situation, God also seems to intervene directly after Eve and Adam used their free will to disobey Him, and be enticed away into sin.

In the very next chapter of our Bible, we see another similar spiritual battle being lost. Take a look at what the Lord said to Cain, the son of Adam and Eve (Genesis 4:6-8):

6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?

7 “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

8 Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.
NAS

God again intervened directly in trying to convince Cain not to do what he eventually did, but Cain wouldn't listen.

The only one who is empowered by sin, suffering, the shedding of blood, and death is Satan; so the power of evil became stronger upon this earth. And that power continues to grow until this very day.

Why?

Because we are allowing evil to grow instead of taking a strong stand against the forces of evil, and because the vast majority of people go along with the ways of the world, and the forces of evil continue to be strong.

As we return to our study of Daniel, God’s man in the field, we have seen that he has been taking a strong stand against the forces of evil, but he is still seeking answers to his questions and doesn’t understand why he isn’t getting answers in a timely manner.

We find this to be the case with many of the people who question why God allows all this evil to continue to cause so much suffering and death of humans and animals upon this earth.

However, unlike Daniel, many of these people have lost some of their faith in God.

Let’s turn in our Bibles to Daniel 10:20-21 and listen to what the angel Gabriel said to Daniel:

20 Then he said, “Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come.

The angel came to help Daniel, and to assure him that God has indeed heard his prayers, and was working on the problems, most of which were taking place in the spiritual realm.

This is why the angel has to return to fight the spiritual forces of evil behind the Persian kingdom, and here he is also telling Daniel of having to fight against the upcoming spiritual forces of evil behind the future Greek empire.

It seems that all worldly powers have the forces of evil behind them.

21 “However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince.
NAS

Even the angel Gabriel could not overcome the spiritual forces of evil without the help of the archangel Michael. But with Michael’s help, Gabriel was able to overcome the forces of evil that had been preventing him from coming to Daniel.

Also, in referring to Michael as Daniel's prince, He is letting him know that God is directly protecting him by assigning this mighty angel to be his personal protector.

But why is God doing this with Daniel?

It's because Daniel is one of the few truly righteous people left in the world.

And this is teaching us that we also must call upon this heavenly help through Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, because God does help those who are trying to bring His heavenly will and peace to earth.

We also believe that these spiritual forces of evil are also behind every political, business and industrial leader that exploits humans and animals, for as we read the judgments in the Bible, such as when the sixth seal is broken in Revelation 6:15-17, these leaders are included with the ruler of the land.

15 Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains;

16 and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb;

17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

To us, this proves that these people really know that what they have been, and are doing, is against the will of God; that's why they are afraid.

So we need to include the industries with the spiritual forces of evil that we have to overcome to bring peace to this earth.

What do we have to do to end the atrocities that are being committed every day against millions of human beings, and billions of animals?

How do we get people to listen and end their indifference to all this suffering, and their participation in it?

Let’s now turn in our Bibles to Ephesians 6:10-17 and see more about where our struggle really is:

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.

11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

The power was not in the serpent who tempted Eve, but in the spiritual forces of evil behind or within him.

The same thing applies to Cain, when he rose up and killed his brother.

And these same forces of evil are behind all those who torture and kill over 50 billion land animals and even more sea animals every year.

This also applies to all those who are indifferent to this suffering and buy the products of all these atrocities.

With all of this in mind, let’s return to what Paul is telling us:

13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

Notice carefully what we are being told; we are to stand firm against the forces of evil, and not to use violence to try to overcome it, for such violence only plays into the hands of the devil.

14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

We overcome the forces of evil with truth and righteousness.

We are to be peacemakers.

We are to strengthen our faith so that we can overcome all that the devil throws at us, and hold on to our promises of salvation so that the devil cannot confuse our minds and thought processes.

And finally we must be strong in the word of God, for that is the ultimate power, even that which spoke the whole of creation into existence.

Now, let’s go back and look at our preparation verse for today, Isaiah 11:9, which explains how and why we can once again have a peaceable kingdom:

9 They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
As the waters cover the sea.

We have true peace when the earth is full of the knowledge of the Lord.

We have indifference, injustice, corruption, suffering, bloodshed, and death because the earth is full of the ways of the devil.

To us, the most tragic thing of all is that the devil has so clouded the minds of people that the corrupted ways of the world are even preached and glorified from the pulpits of many churches, and many of them don’t even recognize what is happening.

Paul tells us how to recognize the difference between what is of the ways of the world (devil), and what is of the will of God. Note what we are told in Galatians 5:16-26.

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.

18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.

19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,

20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,

21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.

Anyone who knowingly participates in any deliberate aspect of the killing of another human or animal, for human pleasure or profit, violates every aspect of the fruit of the Spirit; thus, it must be part of the deeds of the flesh and the power of evil upon this earth; and as we are told, such people have no part in the kingdom of God.

We believe that God allows all this corruption to continue to exist because this is the way the vast majority of people want it, and because so few people are trying to overcome it and praying for the Lord’s return.

So in addition to putting on the whole armor of God, we need to live by the fruit of the Spirit and help fill the world with the knowledge of the Lord, which will defuse the power of the devil and begin to bring true and lasting peace back to earth.

We can win this spiritual warfare!

Amen?

Amen.