Daniel saw only the earthly scene in chapter ten (as we do), and his mind was troubled. But God showed that He was in control of history. We are not told much about the spirit world in the Bible – only glimpses into the unseen world around us – but we are told what we need to know.

The godly, unfallen angels are mentioned in the Old Testament over one hundred times and in the New Testament more than one hundred sixty times. We are told that they are God’s messengers — this is what the word “angel” means. They are immortal; that is, they do not die, though they are created beings and therefore are not eternal. They exist in vast numbers. Revelation speaks of “thousands upon thousands” of them. They possess the elements of personality, for they render intelligent worship to God. Some of these qualities are indicated by the terms used to describe them in Scripture. They are called “the heavenly host” (Luke 2:13), “rulers,” “cosmic powers,” “authorities,” “thrones,” “dominions,” and “spiritual forces in high places” (Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 1:16). Psalms 138.1 even calls angels gods because they reflect God’s glory to us (Psalms 138:1).

Alongside these godly, unfallen angels there is also a vast host of angels who fell with Satan at the time of his original rebellion against God and who are bent on opposing God’s rule and doing His people harm. The Bible describes these fallen angels as a terrifying force, not to induce terror in us, but to warn us so that we might draw close to God for protection. The number of this great host can be guaged from the fact that Mary Magdalene alone is said to have been delivered from seven of them, and from knowing that many, calling themselves Legion, had possessed the man Christ encountered in the territory of the Gerasenes.

At the head of these fallen angels is the devil, whom the Bible describes as a powerful foe. There are many jokes about the devil, some possibly inspired by the devil himself to make us think lightly of him and thus lower our guard. But the devil is no lightweight. He is evil, real, and personal.

When we talk about the devil being evil, real, and personal, we must not over exaggerate the case. Because he is a spiritual rather than a material being, many people are inclined to think of Satan more or less as the equal of God. It is true that he is a counterpart of the greatest of the unfallen angels, Michael and Gabriel. But he is not a spiritual counterpart of God. God is God. Every other being has been created by God and is therefore limited for the simple reason that he or she has been created.

God is omnipotent; He is all-powerful. The devil is not. God can do anything He wishes to do.

God is omnipresent; God is everywhere at once. This cannot be said of Satan. Satan can be in only one place at one time. Consequently, he must either tempt one person in one place at one time, or he must extend his influence through one of the other spiritual beings that fell with him. The result is that, although the devil’s influence is widespread, it is probably the case that neither you nor anyone you know has ever been tempted by the devil directly. In fact, in all the Bible we know of only six individuals who were tempted by Satan himself: Eve (but not Adam), Job, Jesus Christ, Judas, Peter, and Ananias (but not his wife Sapphira). No doubt there have been many others, but these are the only ones the Bible tells us of specifically.

God is omniscient; he knows everything. This is untrue of Satan. Satan does not know everything. True, he knows a great deal, & he is undoubtedly a shrewd guesser. But the ways of God must constantly surprise him, & he certainly has no more certainty about what is going to happen in the future than we have.

Satan is a great and powerful foe. Yet we are not to quake before him, but are steadfastly to resist him in the strength and armor of God. Moreover, we are to stand boldly, knowing that, in spite of the opposition of Satan and his hosts, in the final assessment it will be seen that the Word of God and the kingdom of God have prevailed.

Martin Luther was engaged in a great battle himself. The world seemed always to be against him, and behind the terrifying powers of this material world stood the even more terrifying powers of the devil. Luther did not fear. He wrote:

And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim,
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure;
One little word shall fell him.
That Word above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through him who with us sideth;
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still;
His kingdom is forever.

Luther knew that the evil forces of the unseen world are capable of stirring up such hatred against God’s saints that we may well lose “goods and kindred” and even our lives. But in this warfare God is still sovereign, and for this reason His “truth” and “His kingdom” will prevail. That is what the angel came to tell Daniel. – he showed Daniel how it would all turn out – and Daniel was strengthened by that knowledge. So must we be as we stand for the Lord Jesus Christ, fight on, and look for His coming.