National Principalities

Read Daniel 10:13-21

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The angel was dispatched on the 3rd of Nisan, it took him 21 days to finally get to Daniel and the reason for this was the prince (lowercase p) from the kingdom of Persia resisted him or KJV says withstood him. 

I want to break today’s section into two parts.  The first part will cover the spirit realm and the second part will cover what was happening in the human realm.  It will give us more understanding of what may have been causing Daniel to be so burdened.

Verse 13 says that a demon was resisting the messenger angel.  The name given to this demon was prince of persia.  This section of scripture gives us a great description of the spirit realm and the conflicts between God’s angels and Satan’s agents.  This demonic principality didn’t possess any person, rather it controlled the atmosphere surrounding the nation.  The principality would influence the decisions being made about Israel and the rebuilding of the temple, in a way that opposed God of heaven. 

The kingdom of Persia had its own demonic influence like every nation does, even the USA today.  There are demonic principalities doing everything they can to keep this Nation from honoring God in the way it was created.  The demon’s main job is to work against the people and the plans of God.  

Verse 20 lets us know that each nation has its own set of demonic forces; it says, “the prince of Greece” will come.  We know this prophecy was fulfilled with Alexander the Great.  A whole new set of devils stepped in to push back against God when Greece began to rule the earth.  

The angel that is finished speaking with Daniel, he will go back to the spirit realm and he will continue to fight the prince of Persia.  God wants the temple to be rebuilt, this angel, along with Michael will be the ones to make sure that happens according to God’s schedule.  When Alexander the Great took over the world empire was when the Persian demon was defeated.  

Daniel lives inside the capital of former Babylon and now Persia, the angel had to come to Daniel to give him the word concerning Israel’s future.  As the angel entered or attempted to enter the city he was met by this principality.  This demon was in no way wanting to let the word of the Lord go forward.  It was determined to stop the progression of rebuilding the temple and every attempt the angel made to speak to Daniel, this demon blocked him.  God then sends Michael to aid in putting the demon in his place and getting the word delivered.

Michael’s help allowed the angel to get away briefly to talk to Daniel, but he had to immediately return because his presence was needed to ensure God’s plans were carried out.  

Our world is affected by what happens in the spirit realm and vise versa.  This angel ended up fighting against this enemy for several years.  We can see here in chapter 10 that two years have passed since Cyrus gave the decree for the Jews to rebuild their temple.  This persian prince has been blocking them for two years at this point and we can see the physical, human side of this in Ezra 4.

I think it is important to understand this side of history in comparison to what Daniel recorded and to see what it potentially looks like when demons influence nations.  As we know,  Daniel remained in the capital of the nation, the city of Babylon, he was a man who had great influence with King Cyrus, even though Daniel is older now he still has a lot of influence and is greatly respected and honored, his word carries a lot of weight. 

By looking at Ezra, we can understand more of what Daniel was witnessing in regards to the trouble the Jews faced as they tried to rebuild their temple.  This trouble is likely what prompted his prayer.

In Cyrus’  first year God touched Cyrus’ heart and had him put out a decree that, according to Persian law, could never be broken or removed.  This decree was to permit the Jews to rebuild their temple.  The Jews, well the ones that wanted to, returned with the king’s blessing to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.

For the next few years they would begin to have a lot of opposition.  Ezra tells us that the enemies of Judah and Benjamin came to the tribe leaders offering their help to rebuild the temple.  The Jewish leaders turned them down, telling them they wanted to rebuild it themselves.  I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t want any help from an enemy?

Now remember the principalities are influencing these decisions against the people of God.  In our modern day we could relate them to a political party that does what it can to go against God and his people.  Their main reason for not wanting the Jews to occupy the city was because of money.  Samaria had become both a spiritual and economic center.  They collect large sums of tax money and with the Jews reentering and occupying this city again they would lose their control over their private economic empire. They would lose control and they didn’t like that. 

When their plan to work from the inside didn’t work the enemy decided to use fear to cause them to stop the construction.  The Hebrew word for fear in this section of Ezra relates to the fear aroused in a battle situation.  They were putting them in a “war like” situation.  They were using force, they were using violence.  Think of a riot.  We are all familiar with what those look like and the fear they cause.  These political leaders were encouraging riots against the Jews, against their business’ and against their homes.

On top of that they bribed other officials, persuading them to work against their plans.  The political party bribed, they blackmailed the other governmental officials forcing them to make the life of the Jews miserable.  Putting them in a desperate situation, the officials made it difficult for the Jews to obtain permits and licensing.  Banking would be difficult, zoning would be difficult.  Finding support from local businesses who were willing to sell to them was becoming more and more rare, because they would risk losing their own business license.   They continued to do this during the entire reign of Cyrus and throughout the reign of subsequent kings.  

When Xerxes took over they started a schmear campaign against the Jews.  They started fake news and attempted to destroy the reputation of the Jews. Doing their best to make them out to be the enemy.  Getting their followers, their supporters to call them names and spread hatred.  The Jews were nonnegotiable about their laws and traditions and the gentiles would view that stance as being intolerant, and hate filled.  Their view of remaining separate from the world would be viewed as not being inclusive.

This continued for years and eventually in Ezra 4:12 the enemies, the entire political party (Ezra 4:9), got together and wrote a letter to king Artaxerxes I.  The letter stated,  the “evil” Jews are rebuilding a rebellious and toxic city in Jerusalem.  They want the king to know that if this continues, no more taxes will be paid and that the royal revenue will suffer greatly.  Of course they only have the kings best intentions in mind and they’d hate to see him dishonored this way.

The king fell for it and ordered the construction to cease, this lasted until Artaxerxes 2nd year.  This was only a brief setback as the Jews started their construction back up, they were following the decree from God and the law Cyrus put in place. 

Those political leaders were not happy, they wanted to know who authorized the construction to start up and they wanted the names of everyone supporting this rebuild.  Why would government officials vet their citizens?  What purpose would they have in collecting data on citizens who are not breaking the law?  What does it matter who their supporters are when they are not breaking any laws? 

Ezra 5:5 says “But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, that they could not cause them to cease.”  Remember the angels are making sure God’s will is done.  The demons are influencing the politicians who are working against the will of God.  The angels are stationed to protect the will of God and to make sure his will is fulfilled.  

Artaxerxes ended up doing his own investigation and he learned about Cyrus’ decree and realized it could not be undone.  He told the offending politicians to stop interfering and to stay away.  He also gave the Jews more money, a stimulus check if you will,  to complete the construction.  The temple was officially rebuilt on the 3rd of Adar in Artaxerxes sixth year as king.

That takes us up to verse 21 in Daniel 10.  The angel finishes his explanation of what has held him up and that he needs to get back to the battle, but before he goes he wants to explain to Daniel what is written in the Book of Truth.  I like that he ends with there being no one else engaging in this battle with him except for Michael.  The two of them have a big task with fighting the principalities controlling Persia.

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