Today we will look at what was going on in the spirit realm during Daniel’s twenty-one day fast. From the first day Daniel set his heart to seek God, the angel Gabriel was sent to speak with Daniel but was held back by demonic activity in the heavens. Michael the Archangel was sent to help Gabriel to get through. This story will bring clarity to our understanding of unseen things when we seek God.
Let’s look at what the angel said to Daniel in verses 12 and 13, that’s Daniel 10, verses 12 and 13:
“Then he, the angel, said to me, do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and to humble yourself before God... (How did he humble himself? By fasting! Bear that in mind. Fasting is an appointed way to humble ourselves before God.) From the first day that you set your heart to understand and to humble yourself before God, your words were heard and I have come because of your words.”
In other words, “God sent me the first day you started to pray.” Why didn’t he arrive? Not because the journey from God’s throne to earth takes an angel 21 days, that’s not the reason. Now verse 13:
“But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me [resisted me] 21 days.”
Who is “the prince of the kingdom of Persia”? Probably Satan, but at any rate, it is the satanic angel whom Satan has set over the Persian empire to work out Satan’s purposes, resist God’s purposes, in the Persian empire.
Now let me pause for a moment. Why was the Persian empire important at this time? Well, if you study the history of Israel, there were four successive Gentile empires that dominated the Jewish people after they had turned against God in rebellion and been exiled from their own land. The first was Babylon which took them into exile; the second was Medo-Persia or Persia which was the one that was in power in Daniel’s time; the third was Greece; the fourth was Rome. And all God’s purposes for the human race centered in the Jewish people, because only from the Jewish people could come the Messiah and the Savior. And because God’s purposes centered in Israel, Satan’s opposition likewise centered in Israel. In other words: when you’re in the center of God’s plan, that’s when you have the most satanic opposition. It is important to bear that in mind.
So what Satan was seeking to do was keep the Jewish people, Israel, under bondage and away from returning to their own land. What Daniel was praying for was the return of Israel to their own land. So this satanic prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood him. And then the angel goes on:
“And Michael, one of the chief princes [or one of the archangels] came to help me.”
So this angel could not break through on his own. This is really a fascinating picture and why did Michael come? What is Michael’s particular job amongst the archangels? He has one very important assignment. Keep your finger in Daniel 10 and turn for a moment to Daniel 12 verse 1.
“At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince [that’s the archangel], who stands watch over the sons of your people.”
Who are “the sons of your people” when Daniel is being addressed? The Jewish people, that’s right. So any time Michael is in the center, you can be sure the Jewish people are center stage in history, because his particular task is to watch over them, protect them from Satan’s attempts to destroy them which have been, as we all know, very numerous.
Going back to Daniel chapter 10 and verse 13, the angel concludes with:
“I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.”
Now “kings” is plural. And I think, contrary to our usual usage, the prince was the supreme ruler, the kings were under him. So there was one prince and under him a number of kings. That’s what I said: “Rulers with various areas and in descending orders of authority.”
What were the jobs of those kings? We have no word from God but I personally believe that for instance, let’s take Great Britain, Satan has a prince over Great Britain, which I don’t doubt he has. By no means do I doubt that. Under that major prince there are lesser rulers who probably dominate each of the main cities of Britain. As a preacher going round I have learned by experience to put out my antennae when I come to a city and try to discern what is the particular satanic power over that particular city.
Then in the Persian kingdom there were many different ethnic groups and I’m inclined to believe that there’s a satanic power over each major ethnic group. If I can say this without offending anybody, I think this is particularly obvious in the case of the American Indians, which is a very tragic story. Because in all the spiritual and material blessings that have come to America, the American Indians have hardly tasted any of them. And they are extremely deep in witchcraft. And I personally believe that that particular satanic person to whom was assigned the task of keeping the American Indians in darkness and bondage has prevailed basically up to this time. We could go through many other ethnic groups but time does not allow us.
Then, of course, there were also in the Persian empire a lot of different religions and I’m inclined to believe each religious group or cult or sect had a particular ruler over it.
So here was God’s angel being resisted by a whole group of satanic angels opposing his coming to Daniel. However, when Michael came he broke through, delivered his message, but he said to Daniel, “I want to tell you what’s going to happen when I go back.” So we go on now to verse 20 of Daniel chapter 10:
“Then the angel said: Do you know why I have come to you? And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia.”
In other words, the battle with the prince of Persia is not finished. What would happen to the Persian empire when the prince of Persia had been dealt with? In all probability it would collapse, which it did a little later. But it was not the last empire. And so he says:
“And when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of Greece will come [the satanic ruler over the next major empire].”
Under Alexander the Great the Greek empire totally crushed and defeated the Persian empire and assumed dominion over a tremendous area of the earth’s surface. Alexander in ten years conquered from Greece in the West to India in the East, including also the area of the South coast of the Mediterranean, one of the most tremendous feats of military conquest. But there was another person. There was a prince behind him. I’m really inclined to believe that most of the major events of human history can only be fully explained in those terms.
And then he says, the angel, in verse 21:
“But I will tell you which is noted in the scripture of truth.”
In other words, I really came to tell you what the Word of God says. And you’ll find the next chapters contain that. And he says:
“No one upholds me against these, except Michael, your prince. [And then he goes on in the first verse of the next chapter which is part of the same talk:] Also in the first year of Darius the Mede, I, even I, stood up to confirm and strengthen him.”
Now Darius was the first Medo-Persian ruler that crushed the Babylonian empire and moved in and took its place. Now Darius, and Cyrus after him, opened the way for the Jewish people to begin to return to their own land, so in a certain sense, the defeat of Babylon by Darius was a major spiritual victory in the purposes of God and of this angel said: “I was the one that strengthened Darius.”
Again, we see that human rulers and human commanders don’t operate in a vacuum on their own. Behind them are unseen angelic forces, both divine and satanic. The angels of God strengthen those rulers and men who will forward the purposes of God on earth; the angels of Satan resist those men. That’s a very major reason why Christians should pray for the rulers of their nations. If it is possible, they should inhibit the activity of satanic angels and release the activity of God’s angels.
But remember, in this particular situation nothing happened until Daniel prayed. I don’t know of anything that challenges us more to prayer than this revelation. And it seems to me, although this may seem strange, that Daniel’s prayer was one of the forces that enabled the angel of God to break through. So brothers and sisters, maybe you’ve been underestimating the possibility of what your prayers can do.
So Satan, fallen from being Lucifer, having set up his rival, rebellious kingdom in the heavenlies, rules there over a host of rebellious angels. The key word to describe Satan and those who are with him is the word rebel. Rebellion against God.
Now Satan also has a lower, shall we say stratum, of his kingdom on earth. And again, the key word that describes those over whom he rules on earth is the word rebel. This is made plain in Ephesians chapter 2. We are talking now, not about Satan’s kingdom in the heavenlies, but about those over whom he rules on earth.