The Warfare Of Prayer
Dr. Joe Temple

The Warfare Of Prayer

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Daniel. I would like to remind you that chapters 10, 11 and 12 of the book are all related to one vision; they represent the last vision which Daniel had.

The chapter divisions in our Bibles are very helpful, but sometimes they deter us from going completely through a given passage of Scripture and learning all the truth that is related to it.

If you should read chapter 10 of the book of Daniel by itself without going on and reading chapters 11 and 12, you would miss the point entirely. Or if you were to read chapter 12 of the book of Daniel without having read chapter 10, you would not be able to understand what the Spirit of God had in mind. This is not to suggest that we are going to look at all three chapters now, but it is to suggest that you consider the three chapters as a whole.

Outline Of Daniel's Last Recorded Vision

May I suggest that chapter 10 of the book of Daniel through verse 1 of chapter 11—because verse 1 actually belongs to chapter 10—represents an introduction to the vision; chapter 11 represents the subject matter of the vision itself; and then chapter 12 represents the epilogue to the series. If you will keep that in mind in your reading, you will be able to understand the entire portion the better.

Follow in your Bibles as we read chapter 10:

Daniel 10:

1In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.
2In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks.
3I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.
4And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel;
5Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz:
6His body also was like the Beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.
7And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.
8Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.
9Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground.
10And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands.
11And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.
12Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.
13But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.
14Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.
15And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb.
16And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength.
17For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me.
18Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me,
19And 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.
20Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.
21But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.

Daniel 11:

1Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him.

Shall we bow our heads together for prayer: Our Father, we have read Thy Word. We ask that Thou would bless it now to our hearts. Grant that we will be able to understand that which is before us, and grant, our Father, that as we understand, we will be able to apply truth to our hearts. Grant, our Father, that the Holy Spirit, Who is our teacher, will be able, because our hearts are yielded to Him, to show us the truth of this particular portion of Thy Word. For we pray in Jesus' name and for His sake. Amen

The Introduction To The Vision

As we look at chapter 10, I would like for you to notice with me, as I said in the very beginning, that this chapter is but the introduction to the last vision—either those had by Daniel himself or those had by others for whom Daniel interpreted their visions. The last part of the book has been concerned with various visions which Daniel himself had. We had noticed in our study of the book that in relation to each of the visions there is a date presented.

You might be inclined to read over those dates hurriedly, paying no attention to them, but that would be a mistake. For the dates themselves in most instances help us to understand the subject matter of the vision. That is certainly the case now because these three chapters are full of a great many things.

Constant Warfare In The Heavens

Aside from the prophetic vision which they contain, these three chapters tell us of a warfare that is being constantly waged in the heavens, unseen by the natural eye. If those who are in the heavens today had bodies which were material instead of spiritual, all this space exploration would result in fatality for somebody because the heavens are full of spiritual beings. These chapters emphasize that fact.

Records Kept By God

These chapters emphasize also one of the great truths related to prayer that we all need to keep constantly before us. They are full of references to the records which God keeps. God keeps very meticulous records. Sometimes we refer to the book of God, and what we have in mind is the Bible from which we are reading; but it is well to keep in mind that there are many books other than the Bible in which God has a vital interest. One of those is described in these three chapters. It is called the Scripture of Truth .

Appearances Of Christ

In addition to all of these things which I have mentioned to you, these three chapters in the book of Daniel teach us the meaning of theophanies or christophanies. We should be familiar with them; we should be able to understand them.

Setting Of The Vision

Do not become alarmed and think that we are going to consider all these things now. We could not begin to do that. We are going to begin to look at one of them, but in order for us to understand it fully, it is important for us to keep in mind the setting of the chapter, and, I repeat, that setting is revealed in two dates which are presented in the chapter. Look at the first one with me, please, in verse 1:

Daniel 10:

1In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.

Look at the second date which is given in chapter 10. You find it in verse 4:

Daniel 10:

4And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel;

The Hiddekel River is another name for the Tigris River. The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers encompassed that area which was known as the Garden of Eden, which was occupied by Babylon and later by Persia. Daniel, on this particular river in the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia, had the vision which is contained in these chapters before us.

Vision Came Two Years After Daniel's Retirement

Turn back with me to the very first chapter of the book of Daniel and notice verse 21, because we want to seek by comparison the reason this particular date is given in the chapter and the significance of the date:

Daniel 1:

21And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.

Daniel, chapter 1, verse 21, gives us the date of Daniel's retirement from public life. He began, you will remember, under the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, and he continued through all the rulers of Babylon—through the reign of Darius the Mede, and through the first year of the reign of King Cyrus. This particular vision which we are considering happened in the third year of Cyrus, which indicates that it occurred two years after Daniel had entered into retirement.

Three Days After Feast Of Unleavened Bread

Turn with me now to the book of Exodus and notice chapter 12. We ask you to turn to this portion of the Word of God because we want to notice by comparison the significance of the twenty-fourth day of the month of Nisan. In Exodus, chapter 12, beginning with verse 15, there are recorded for us the regulations related to the establishment of the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread which followed:

Exodus 12:

15Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.
16And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.
17And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.

Notice now:

Exodus 12:

18In the first month that is, the month of Nisan, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even.
19Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.

In the first month, the month of Nisan, from the fourteenth day until the twenty-first day of the month, there would be the Feast of Unleavened Bread following the Passover. You will recall, and I suggest that you turn back to chapter 10 of the book of Daniel now, that this vision which Daniel had occurred on the twenty-fourth day of the month of Nisan, which was three days after the Feast of Unleavened Bread ended.

You realize, then, that this vision occurred after Daniel had been two years in retirement. It occurred at a time of restriction of all activities for the purpose of dedicating oneself to God.

Daniel Went Beyond Requirements To Dedicate Himself

What are we to learn from these two suggestions concerning the dates at which we have already looked? Let me suggest to you that this date in the month of Nisan gives us the reason we are told in verse 3 that Daniel ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh or wine in his mouth, neither did he anoint himself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled. For Daniel began the Feast of Unleavened Bread before it began on the calendar and followed it for three solid weeks all the way through to the end.

I mention that because I do not believe that it is Scripturally correct to say that Daniel fasted for three weeks. He did not. He simply observed the regulations which were related to self-denial in connection with the Feast of Unleavened Bread. When we look farther down in the chapter, you will see the reason we make mention of this at all.

Then you will keep in mind that this vision came to Daniel after two years of retirement. We believe that that is significant to help us to understand exactly why all this occurred.

Failing To Understand A Prior Vision

Turn back with me for a moment to Daniel, chapter 8, and will you notice verse 26:

Daniel 8:

26And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days.
27And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.

Did you notice what you read? Daniel had a vision. He did not understand it. Neither did anyone else understand it. Other visions he had always sought to understand by fasting and prayer. But we are told in verse 27 that the king's business was so pressing that he did not have time to pursue the understanding of this vision.

Seeking For Understanding

But now he had been two years in retirement, and we believe that he spent the greater part of that two years in attempting to understand the vision of chapter 8. You may wonder why we say that.

Glance down at chapter 10, verse 11, and notice these words:

Daniel 10:

12Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.

Now notice verse 12. It tells us that Daniel set his heart to understand something. He prayed over it for twenty-one days, and the angel came to give him understanding concerning the thing about which he was seeking knowledge.

Even Great Warfare

Go back to chapter 10, verse 1:

Daniel 10:

1In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.

Notice the phrase, “but the time appointed was long.” If you have a marginal reference Bible, you probably notice a suggested correction for that phrase. It has been corrected in later translations, and rightly so, because the phrase, “but the time appointed was long,” is an unhappy translation.

It should instead be translated “even great warfare” or “even great tribulation, conflict and wretchedness,” as I believe the Amplified version of the Old Testament has it. You may wonder why there should be such a different translation suggested. The answer is found in the meanings of the words which are translated “appointed” and “long.”

If you were to look in your Hebrew Bible at the word which is translated “appointed,” you would find that it is a word that is spelled almost like the Hebrew word for “war,” and the Hebrew word which is translated “long” is very like the word which is translated “great.” If you were to look at those words in a good Hebrew lexicon, with just a hasty glance, you might even think they are the same words because the only difference is a little mark which the Lord Jesus Christ, when He was on the earth, referred to as a jot or a tittle (Matthew. 5:18). Sometimes that mark is the only way we can distinguish between Hebrew words.

The Effect Of A Jot Or A Tittle

A jot or a tittle is a little mark very similar to our comma, but it is placed above certain letters in the word instead of on the line as our comma is. If it is placed above a certain letter, it gives the meaning of the word a certain translation. If it is facing to the left, it means one thing; if it is facing to the right, it means another thing. An individual who was hurriedly copying the original manuscript could easily make the mistake that was made here.

The reason we believe the correction is a just one is that it fits into the subject matter under discussion because what is recorded in chapter 8 is a great conflict, a mighty war. When Daniel was seeking understanding, he was seeking understanding concerning that great war, that mighty conflict. Those words fit in better with the original text and the meaning of the passage itself.

Then you will see when we come to chapter 11 that the subject matter in this chapter is a continuation of the subject matter in chapter 8; chapter 11 gives more details.

For all of those reasons we say, then, that Daniel was seeking understanding concerning the vision of chapter 8. Keep in mind the date and you will see the reason it is so important for us to notice it and not pass over it lightly.

The Messiah Would Die But Live Again

You will remember that in chapter 9, Daniel had a vision. In that vision, it was explained to him that there would come a day when the Messiah would be cut off. The Messiah would be crucified. This vision was given something like four years before chapter 10.

To say that the Messiah would be cut off possibly does not mean very much to you. But if you were a Jew and you believed the promise of God that the Messiah would someday come to the earth, and that the Messiah would set up God's kingdom on the earth, and you looked forward to that day in and day out, and then suddenly you had a revelation from God that the Messiah was going to end up on a cross, you would be greatly disturbed. You would want to know the reason. You would want to have some understanding about it. I believe that is another reason Daniel was in mourning, and I believe that is another reason he was seeking before God to understand some of these spiritual truths.

That becomes increasingly evident to me as I look at the vision which was given to Daniel and which we will notice a bit more in detail in a moment, for it was a vision of the Messiah. It is as though God said to Daniel, “Daniel, you are needlessly concerned. Though the Messiah is cut off, though He is crucified, He does not die; He dies only that He might live again.”

Lack Of Interest In Rebuilding Jerusalem

There is a third thing that I would like for you to keep in mind in relation to the importance of this date, the third year of Cyrus, as an indication of why Daniel was so burdened and mourning and praying these twenty-one days. You will keep in mind that in the first year of Cyrus, Cyrus gave permission for the Jews to return to the land of Palestine to rebuild the walls of the city and to rebuild the temple as well.

If you should take the time—and I would suggest you do it if you want properly to understand the book of Daniel—to read the book of Ezra, the book of Nehemiah and the book of Esther, you would discover that not too many people were enthused about going back to the land of Palestine to rebuild the city and the temple.

You would discover also that the few who did go back were under great persecution at the hand of numerous enemies. It looked as though the promise that God gave to Daniel that the temple would be rebuilt would never be accomplished. I believe that Daniel was concerned and burdened about these things.

You would not know that if you did not pay attention to the date which is given in verse 1 of this chapter. The reason I am taking the time to emphasize it is that I want you to read your Bibles carefully; remember that the Word of God is verbally inspired and nothing is said by accident.

Appearance Of God To Men

I said to you in our opening discussion that these three chapters are filled with quotes about many things. One of the things to which I referred was a theophany. The word theophany is not in the Scripture any more than the word Trinity is in the Scripture. But as the word Trinity describes a great Scriptural truth in one word, the word theophany does likewise.

The word theophany comes from two Greek words—theos , which means “God” and phaneo , which means “appearance.” Put the two together and you have God's appearance . A theophany is the appearance of God.

Sometimes these theophanies are called christophanies because they are more particularly a reference to the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ. Such is the case here. We would not have time to examine all the things the Bible has to say about theophanies, but I would like to suggest to you that they are numerous.

Preincarnation Appearances Of Jesus

If I were to ask the average person when the Lord Jesus Christ first came to earth, I probably would be answered with the statement that He came as a babe in Bethlehem's manger, but that would not be the correct answer. The Lord Jesus Christ came to earth many times before His incarnation. These theophanies, or christophanies, represent the preincarnation appearances of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Only To People Who Are Quiet Before God

I would like for you to notice a few general things about these theophanies for the blessing which may be brought to your heart. Let me suggest to you first that these theophanies were always related to people who stood quiet before the Lord. These theophanies never occurred when people were in a rush. They never occurred when people were busy about a great many things.

Turn back, please, to Genesis, chapter 18, and notice one of these theophanies from that standpoint:

Genesis 18:

1And the Lord appeared unto him [that is, unto Abraham] in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;

This is the manner in which it occurred:

Genesis 18:

1And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;
2And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,
3And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:

That is as far as we are going to read. He went on and had conversation with these three men, and they told him what they were about to do in relation to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. If you will read the rest of the chapter, you will find that two of them went on to Sodom and Gomorrah. Those two turned out to be angels. But one stayed with Abraham, and that one turned out to be none other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Did you notice when He made His appearance to Abraham? When Abraham was quiet, at siesta time in the Orient, when he was sitting quietly and meditatively in the door of his tent.

Examine the theophanies in the Word of God and you will find that God makes his appearance when men are quiet before him. If you will examine the setting of the theophany in the book of Daniel, you will recognize that this theophany occurred while Daniel was quiet at the River Hiddekel, away from everything and everybody except his immediate servants, who, we are going to notice, did not see a thing, except that they sensed an unusual, supernatural presence. Because they sensed that presence, they fled away in terror, but Daniel saw the vision.

Theophanies Introduce Momentous Events

Turn, please, to Exodus, chapter 3, as I remind you of another general characteristic of these theophanies. They occur usually to introduce some momentous event, something that God is going to do that has not been known before. Of course we could say that about the theophany in the book of Genesis because God was going to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Nobody knew that; God told Abraham. Here in Exodus, chapter 3, God is going to commission a man to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt; and in order to do it, He makes his appearance. Notice in verse 1 where Moses was—not on a busy thoroughfare, but on the backside of the desert in a quiet place. It was there that the angel of the Lord—which is another name for the Lord Jesus Christ—made his appearance to Moses. You will notice in verse 2:

Exodus 3:

2And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

Now the literalists or modernists will tell you that this bush did not burn with fire because they deny the miraculous. I suggested when we were studying the book of Exodus, and I emphasize it again now, that this bush indeed did not burn with fire. This bush was filled, as the original language of the text indicates, with the Shekinah Glory of God, and that caused the bush to have the appearance of burning and not being consumed. The Shekinah Glory of God was all around it, and because it was all around, it appeared to Moses to be a flame of fire.

Did you notice the reason God made this appearance? To commission Moses for the task of delivering the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.

Theophanies Encourage Wavering Hearts

Turn with me now to chapter 6 of the book of Judges. Many of you are familiar with this chapter; it is the story of Gideon, and you are familiar with that story. As you turn to this portion of the Word of God, may I remind you that it is an illustration of the fact that these theophanies occurred when there was a need to encourage wavering, faint hearts. In verse 11:

Judges 6:

11And there came an angel of the Lord, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.
12And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.

Gideon had an entirely different opinion of himself, but the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Gideon for the purpose of strengthening him and letting him know that he was sufficient for the task.

Turn with me, please, to the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 23, for two reasons. First, you will read a story very similar to this one; second, you will see that these theophanies were not related solely to the Old Testament. The Lord Jesus Christ came back to earth after He left in what we refer to as His ascension. Yes, we believe in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. But if we are accurate in our interpretation of the Scripture, we must remember that the Lord Jesus Christ did not say that that would be the only time He would be back. He said that that will be at a specific time in contrast to His first coming, but He made other appearances as well. In the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 23, the Apostle Paul was greatly discouraged and fearful, and one night the Lord stood by him. Will you notice verse 11:

Acts 23:

11And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.

We read this verse of Scripture and all too often tend to dismiss it without giving consideration to its import. It was not that the Lord just stood by him in some sort of impressionistic way and gave him this message. The language forbids such an interpretation. It means literally that just as the Lord stood by Gideon and said, “Gideon, thou mighty man of valour,” the Lord stood by the Apostle Paul and said, “I want you to be encouraged. You don't have anything of which to be afraid.”

Daniel's View Of The Lord Jesus Christ

Go back with me to Daniel, chapter 10, and notice specifically the theophany that is recorded in that portion of the Word of God. In verse 5, we read:

Daniel 10:

5Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz:
6His body also was like the Beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.

That was the vision of the Lord Jesus Christ which Daniel had. Perhaps you are saying, “How do you know that is the Lord Jesus Christ? It doesn't say so. Why couldn't it have been an angel or some other heavenly being?” Turn with me to the book of Revelation. Remember, I told you that the book of Daniel and the book of Revelation should be considered together; the one serves as a comment on the other. In Revelation, chapter 1, you will notice verse 10:

Revelation 1:

10I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
11Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

A voice spoke to John. Now notice verse 12:

Revelation 1:

12And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
13And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
14His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
15And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

We are going to stop our reading right there, for if you carefully compare these two visions, you will find a similarity that cannot be passed over lightly. You will find only one specific difference, and that is the position of the girdle. In Daniel's vision, the girdle was around the waist of the Lord Jesus Christ. In John's vision, the girdle was around the breast of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you should take the trouble to follow that through the Bible, you would find that it is highly representative. When the girdle was around the waist, it indicated that the Lord Jesus Christ was prepared for intercession. When it was around the breast, it indicated that the Lord Jesus Christ was prepared for judgment.

In Daniel, as we are going to see before we are through with Daniel, chapters 10, 11 and 12, the subject is intercession. In Revelation, chapter 1, the subject is judgment. I believe that Daniel saw the preincarnate Christ. I believe that John saw Christ after his incarnation. But they are one and the same Christ.

Christ Gives Orders To Gabriel

If you will go back to Daniel, chapter 10, you will notice another reason I believe that the individual presented here is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. It is that the individual described in verses 5 and 6 of Daniel, chapter 10, is the same individual who gave orders to Gabriel to cause Daniel to understand the visions contained in chapter 8. We learned that that individual was the Lord Jesus Christ.

Man's Reaction In The Presence Of Deity

A third reason which is significant is that Daniel's reaction to this vision of the Lord Jesus Christ is the same as the reaction of every other individual when he fully comprehended the fact that he was talking face to face with deity.

We have noticed in our study of the book of Daniel that Daniel was an unusual individual as far as morality and spirituality were concerned. We said that he was a Spirit-filled, a Spirit-directed man. But you will notice that when he saw this great vision, he did not think himself to be great at all, for we read in verse 8:

Daniel 10:

8Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.

I do not believe that any individual can read a passage of Scripture such as this and honestly say that we are saved by anything other than the grace of God. How any individual could stand in the presence of a Holy God, in the light of these revelations, and boast about anything that he could have done for his eternal salvation, regardless of how small it might have been, is beyond my comprehension.

People Conscious Of Their Unworthiness

Daniel said, “All of my comeliness has turned into corruption. All of a sudden I'm standing in the presence of a Holy God.” I believe that any honest soul would feel exactly the same way. Daniel felt his own unworthiness when he had a vision of God. May I suggest that this is the last characteristic of a theophany, generally speaking, that I would like to leave with you—these theophanies occur to individuals who are conscious of their own unworthiness. They never occur to individuals who are filled with self.

I have shown you that theophanies are not related solely to the Old Testament. I have shown you that they are related to the New Testament as well. I have pointed out at least two of them for you. So theophanies are related to the old dispensations, and they are related to the new.

Perhaps there is a question in your mind: Could a theophany occur today? Could it occur in the generation in which we live?

Possibility Of Theophanies Today

We must tread very carefully here. The Devil would delight in leading people astray with visions which would be inconsistent with the Scriptures, and we need to tread very, very softly. Having said that, I would say that we have the complete and full revelation of God in this Book, according to the first chapter of the book of Hebrews, so there would be no need for a theophany to give additional revelations. But having said that, in fairness to evidence which cannot be denied, I must say that I do not believe that theophanies are an impossibility even in the age in which we live. Having no Scripture which would forbid such a possibility, I cannot find it in my heart to say to people who believe they have experienced a theophany, though they might not know to call it by that term, that such a thing has never occurred.

I personally have never had such an experience. I have never seen the Lord Jesus Christ face to face in a theophany such as we are now considering. But I have met people whose testimony I have no reason to doubt, who are emotionally stable, who quietly and reverently and only when they are pressed, give testimony to the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ to them at some time or other. I cannot deny such a possibility.

As Some Christians Near Death

I know for a fact what I have heard with my own ears, though I did not see it with my own eyes. Some of you know the experience which we had with my father just before he died. He lived with us for ten years and did not know the Lord, and we were mightily concerned that he should come to know Christ. As many of you have heard me tell the story, we had the privilege of leading him to the Lord in the hospital. He received the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour. We brought him home to die. In a bedroom which was in the back part of this building when we lived here, he lay for one week and gave rich testimony to the preciousness of Christ in his life. One day I was spending a little time in the room with him and he turned to me and said, “Son, isn't He beautiful?” I said, “Dad, what did you say?” He said, “Son, isn't He beautiful??” I said, “What are you talking about?” He said, “Look over there in the corner. Don't you see Him? Isn't He beautiful!” I decided something was going on that my physical eyes could not see and I said, “Dad, I can't see too well. Who is over there?” He said, “Jesus, and He is beautiful. I've never seen anyone so beautiful as He.” He died shortly after that.

Now you can explain that any way you want to explain it, and I'll not argue with you about it. But I am of the opinion, after having been present at many death beds during the course of the years, that when individuals get ready to cross to the other side, God gives them sight that we humans don't ordinarily have. I see nothing at all unreasonable in believing that a theophany could occur today.

I would not suggest that you seek it because nothing in the Bible indicates you should. But I would suggest, if you would love to have the experience, that you walk in all the light that you have, and that you spend some time alone with God. Give God a chance to speak to your heart through His Word—you already have that—and leave the special appearances to His discretion.

Shall we bow our heads together for prayer: We are grateful, our Father, for the reality of the Lord Jesus Christ. We thank Thee, our Father, that we know that the Lord Jesus Christ lives. Though we may never see Him on this earth until He comes for us, we are glad for the assurance we have in our hearts that someday in the flesh we shall see God. And we thank Thee for that hope. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.


Home Contact Us Bible Studies Books King James
Abilene Bible Church Living Bible Studies
Dr. Daiqing Yuan Tim Temple Dr. Joe Temple
Some icons on this site used courtesy FatCow Web Hosting

www.livingbiblestudies.org