Picture of Pastor Gettys

Sermon delivered September 2, 2006 by Pastor Donald J. Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

Daniel: Eyes of Fire

Daniel 10

(RealAudio Version available)

Today we are continuing on our series on the book of Daniel. We only have two more chapters to do after today. Today is Daniel 10 so if you want to open your Bible to Daniel 10, we're going to begin with verse 1.

Daniel 10:1-4. In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and it concerned a great war. The understanding of the message came to him in a vision. At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over. On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, he saw a man dressed in linen.

One day, ninety year-old Daniel and some friends were standing beside the great Tigris river. It was the twenty-fourth day of the first month, (Nisan). This vision was given after three full weeks1 of fasting and mourning. A full week ends on the Sabbath day, the seventh day of the week. This is Bible terminology here, and here Daniel was out for a Sabbath walk by the river. So, this vision was given to him on the Sabbath. It is also interesting to me that in Revelation 1:10 John was given his great vision on the Lord's day, the Sabbath. So, here you have two great visions, one in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament, both given on the Sabbath day, the Lord's day. This would also be the Sabbath day because in Mark 2:28 Jesus said He was the Lord of the Sabbath Day. (See Isaiah 58:13).

I think God trying to tell us something here. Apparently the Sabbath is a day when God draws closer to His people than other days. If that's true, then you need to do something special on Sabbath to connect with God, Who is wanting to do more something for you on the Sabbath than He does on other days. You need to take full advantage of the blessing that is packaged in God's true Sabbath... the seventh day of every week.

Now, let's continue on. Daniel 10:5,6. I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist. His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.

This must be the preincarnate appearance of Jesus Christ! That has to be Jesus, don't you think? It is very similar to Rev. 1:12-16, the same description of the same person by two great prophets. No wonder Daniel's friends were filled with terror and ran away. Only Daniel saw Jesus. Only Daniel heard the message. The friends may have heard a rumbling. They may have seen something bright, but they couldn't understand what they were seeing, so they ran away.

How interesting that when Jesus comes in the last day, Jesus' true friends are attracted to Him and the enemies run away and ask for the rocks and the mountains to fall on them and hide them. That helps you to understand the difference between the wicked person approaching the Holy of holies, Who is Jesus, and a righteous person coming to the throne of Grace. No wonder Daniel was strengthened in the presence of such an awesome supernatural being. Great Saints often see what others cannot see. No wonder Daniel couldn't breath. This is the Jesus you and I will see soon! Daniel's friends escaped and ran away. The missed the blessing that Daniel got. So, don't run away from the presence of Jesus. You come to where the blessing is on the Sabbath day. That's why it's important to attend church on Sabbath. This is the same Jesus that you and I are going to see soon, and when we see Him, He'll still have that gold belt on, and maybe His eyes will be like fire. It's going to be awesome.

Already, if you have been listening closely, you have learned several things that Daniel did which deepened his understanding of spiritual things and prepared him to see a vision of heavenly things.

1. DANIEL WAS SERIOUS ABOUT HIS RELIGEON.

He Mourned for three weeks. He denied his appetite by fasting for three weeks. No perfume for 21 days. Verse 12 says he "Set his mind to gain understanding". We must be serious, you've got to concentrate on Spiritual things. And you will find a deep relationship with God. That's the first thing he did.

2. DANIEL KEPT THE SABBATH.

Daniel was a Sabbath-keeper. Daniel utilized the prepackaged blessing that are contained in each twenty-four hour period of Sabbath. This special time he utilized to the maximum to draw closer to God. Don't squander this precious opportunity. Even on his 75 year vacation into a foreign country, Daniel unswervingly kept the Sabbath.

3. DANIEL LIVED WITH UPLIFTED EYES.

He looked up and saw Jesus. You won't see Jesus unless you lift your eyes. I think we go around with our eyes to the ground. Have you noticed that when you're in the subway or when you're on an elevator that nobody looks and anybody? We look down, or we have our book that we're looking at. We don't look at people. You've got to lift your eyes up to see Jesus. So often we direct our eyes to the world instead of toward heaven. Keep your face to the sunshine and you'll never see shadows. If you want to see heavenly things, look up.

4. DANIEL CONTINUED TO GAZE.

Daniel 10:8. He was left alone Gazing toward God. We are so impatient. We want instant religion. We want instant oatmeal. We want life in an instant way. We want instant religion. We're impatient. We go to a church service and then get in the car and leave our religion and go home. Keep on with God. Don't give up. Keep focused on Jesus. Too often we focus on what we don't want and that's what we end up getting. Focus on Jesus, and what you do want.

Have you ever heard of tree-skiing? You know, you go to the ski slope and you pay your ticket and you go up on the ski-lift and you get clear up to the top and you look down that steep hill, which goes way down. It's all packed. It's hard. The soft snow is in the woods. And so, there is now such a thing as tree skiing. You avoid the slopes and you go into the woods and you ski among the trees. To me this sounds like a sure recipe for suicide. I wouldn't do that even if I owned a pair of snow skis. Here's a Question: Who wins when you hit a tree going 30 to 40 miles per hour? You or the tree? Answer: The tree always wins.

But this relatively new sport of tree skiing attracts thousands of people every winter. I looked up on the tree skier website this week. One of their leading advocates says this: "There is an old axiom; look at the openings, not the trees. We are drawn uncontrollably to things we resist and this holds true for trees. The more we focus on them, stare at them, and worry about hitting them, the more likely they will draw us to them. Most of the forest is probably less then ten percent woody material by surface area. That's a lot of open space to aim for. So relax and focus on that ninety percent of great snow." - Nils Larsen

So, don't focus on the trees, focus on the open spaces between the trees. They are your paths. Never focus at what you don't want in your life. And never look back. Focus on Jesus. Daniel had the ability to focus on Jesus.

5. DANIEL KEPT LISTENING TO GOD.

Daniel 10:9. Then I heard Him speaking, and as I listened to Him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground. Don't shut out God's still small voice. For three whole weeks he prayed. For those three whole weeks, he stayed listening to God because prayer is not just talking, it is also listening. Little do we realize the effect of burdened saints like Daniel who spend hours in prayer and weeping. Both Jesus and Jeremiah wept over Jerusalem. David said: Rivers of water run down from my eyes, because men do not keep Your law. Psalm 119:136 Are you concerned over sin? Do you fast and pray? Do you weep over the lost? Daniel lived almost 80 years in a heathen land and kept his spiritual life strong. Dare to be a Daniel. Be a prayer warrior.

Paul Harvey told about a mother and her little boy in the grocery store. The mother had warned her son not to ask for any chocolate chip cookies. That's like focusing on the trees. Eventually they came to the cookie section and he stood up in the cart and said, "Mamma, can I have some chocolate chip cookies?" The exasperated mother said, "I told you not even to ask." They passed the bakery aisle and there were free cookies for any kid that wanted one, so he repeated the request. Again the answer was "No!" Finally they came to the check-out counter. This was his last chance. Again he stood up in the cart and in his loudest voice he said, "In Jesus name, may I have some chocolate chip cookies??? Shoppers everywhere heard him. People laughed. Some applauded his persistence. By the time he got in his car seat he had twenty three boxes of chocolate chip cookies from generous shoppers. Never give up on your prayer requests. Why did he have all those chocolate chip cookies? Because he persisted. The point is that we should persist with the Lord, don't we? Daniel persisted for three weeks. He didn't give up on his prayer requests. He persisted with God.

6. DANIEL HUMBLED HIMSELF.

You can read that in Daniel 10:12. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before God, your words were heard. You see, we need to come to God humbly. Humble yourself. Daniel did that. He desired to be used by God and to be a blessing to others. So, often as I examine my prayer requests, they are: 'Would You please bless my son and would you bless my daughter, or would you bless this or that.' I am like a traffic director of God's power. Trying to direct Him on what to do. Daniel just came humbly and I think sometimes we need to just come to the Lord and just surrender ourselves to Him. Daniel was unselfish. He was humble. I think that sometimes we pursue God's gifts more than we pursue God.

Notice that even Daniel, the great prophet, experienced a delayed answer to his prayer. We just don't get answers instantly. We think, 'Well, if I don't get the answer today, then I'm going to give up.' Daniel experienced a delayed answer to his prayer. We modern Americans expect immediate quick responses to our desires. We want

We are the society where even priority mail is not fast enough. We demand a cell phone to bridge the gaps when we can't be near a land line to get our calls. We just do everything instantly.

Jesus calls Daniel a prophet (Matthew 24:15). But even prophets have to wait sometimes for their answers to prayer. So, don't feel bad. Waiting is not all that bad. It happened also to king David who said in Psalm 40:1, I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. So don't become discouraged if you have to wait.

Waiting is actually good for us. Psalm 27:14 says, Wait on the Lord: be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Waiting helps to strengthen you. It builds patience and strength into our life. Isaiah 40:31, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.

Actually Daniel's prayer request was noticed up in heaven from the very first moment. Look at Daniel 10:12. The angel said: "Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. I believe the instant we utter our sincere prayer, God in heaven hears it. I believe that. But heaven doesn't always answer right away.

However we must realize that heaven has a blue zillion things to do. Some of these agenda items take awhile. You would think that the God Who spoke the world into place could instantly control the microscopic affairs of our little world. But here in Daniel 10 the curtain is pulled back and we view some of the inner workings of heaven.

The angel revealed the real reason God could not instantly answer Daniel's prayer. Look at Daniel 10:13. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.

Who was the prince of the Persian Kingdom? He delayed the help for which Daniel asked for three weeks. Could it be that the answers to our prayers are obstructed by the invisible forces of evil? Ephesians 6:12 says, For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. And this was a prince of Persia. Maybe there is a prince of the United States. Maybe there's a prince of Canada.

Maybe there are specially selected evil angels assigned to certain territories. The prince of Persia could have been some devil appointed arch demon especially skilled at trouble making and creating mayhem.

Persia is infamous in Bible records for two especially wicked cities: Babylon and Nineveh. Nineveh was founded by Nimrod the mighty warrior. Jonah was sent to Nineveh in Persia. Jonah 1:2, "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me." It was notorious for its barbaric brutality. Nahum 3:1-3 describes the Iraq of Nahum's day because that is actually where this is. It was a devil inspired city: A city of blood, full of plunder, never without victims, with swords and glittering spears and many casualties and piles of corpses. There was no greater concentration of evil in the world than Nineveh. That's why God was going to destroy it. It was located in what we call Iraq today. Sixty years after Daniel's time Esther came upon the scene. In Esther's day those same people were trying to exterminate all Jews. Antiochus Epiphanes, which you have studied about, did his devilish deeds from what we now call Iraq. This is a source of wickedness.

The headquarters of the old Persian empire was located not far from our modern Bagdad. From all the trouble we see over there, could it be that the same prince of the Persian empire is still in business over there today, stirring up trouble? The prince of Persia has been at work for many centuries hasn't he?

Recently our government has stated that we are not just fighting terrorists but we are in a battle with Islamic Fascists. It appears that they desire to kill off everybody who does not follow their religion. The prince of Persia (Iraq) appears to be stirring up the entire Arab world. Terrorism is coming upon the world. Aren't we really witnessing the beginning of the great troubles of the end time? Daniel 10:13 says that Michael had to come and intervene in Daniel's day.

Again in the last day, Michael will have to arise again to help quell the end time troubles and protect the troubled saints. Daniel 12:1. "At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then.

Is there a prince of Tennessee like there was a prince of Persia? You know, evil is real. But Jesus can always overcome it. I want you to know that Michael is a much stronger force than the prince of Persia. Michael will always win. Praise God that Michael is much stronger than the prince of Persia. Jesus got the victory over the forces of darkness on the cross. That means that we are actually fighting a beaten foe. In World War II the allies still had to fight long after D- Day. So, we still need our armor. Ephesians 6:11 says, Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. Today, far too many of Jesus' followers are fighting the enemy in their thin nightgowns or flowered pyjamas. We need to get the heavy armor of God on! Daniel had that armor. Dare to be a Daniel! Put on the armor of God.


Endnotes:

1. The original language uses an idiom here to indicate that the weeks were "Full" weeks. Full weeks come to an end after seven days. Full weeks always end on the Sabbath day. This means that this great vision was given on God's true Sabbath day the seventh day of the week. This is the only vision that we can date with such precision. See the Bible Amplifier, by William H. Shea, Volume Daniel 7-12, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Boise, Idaho, 1996, page172ff.

 Hymn of Praise: #506,  A Mighty Fortress
Scripture: Daniel 10:4-6
Hymn of Response: #616,  Soldiers of the Cross, Arise

060902#480 Daniel 10



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