ANSWER: Daniel 10, where this occurs, is highly instructive and encouraging to us. We find in verse 2 that Daniel had been in mourning for three full weeks before an angel appeared to him with the answer to his prayer expressing his desire to know what would happen to his people, Israel, in the then distant future. Some of what was revealed to Daniel has already been fulfilled. These things are recorded in Daniel 11:2-35. What we find from chapter 11:36 on is still to come. Only the Rapture (1 Th. 4:14-17) stands in the way of these events unfolding. Now to the question. It would be well to look at several other Scripture passages in connection with it. The angel told Daniel that his prayer had been heard from the very first day he had humbled himself and set his heart to understand. The angel had been sent with the answer, but had encountered opposition from the prince of the kingdom of Persia (Dan. 10:12-13). This prince was obviously not the literal human ruler of Persia but a demonic being, one of Satan’s fallen angels.
Ephesians 6:12 tells us that our struggle today is not against flesh and blood, “but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Just as with human armies, there are evidently rankings among the satanic hosts. Satan, the prince and god of this world, still wields tremendous power, whether we believe it or whether we ridicule the thought of it. Satan is called “the accuser of our brethren” in Revelation 12:10, where he is said to “accuse them before our God day and night.” There too we are shown that this power which he has – and this access to God which we see in the first two chapters of Job – will come to an end during the Tribulation that follows shortly after the Rapture.
The world little realizes that demonic powers are behind the nations of this world in all their agitation and struggle against God and His people on earth. The world classifies governments into various kinds of democracies and dictatorships, but these chapters of God’s Word and other passages show us that human rulers are more or less pawns of these unseen satanic powers which we have to contend with at all levels of our lives. Yet we thank God for the principle laid down in God’s Word, that “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 Jn. 4:4). We see in the first two chapters of Job that while Satan still has access to the presence of God, he is limited in what he can do against believers – only what God allows him to do.
James 4:7 tells us this: “Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” We see from this that the devil, and by implication all his evil hosts, are on the attack against us. He has been defeated by Christ at Calvary, but he is still active. We are even now looking forward to the time when “the God of peace will crush Satan … shortly” (Rom. 16:20). Revelation 20 shows us that he will be bound during the Millennium, the 1000 years of Christ’s reign on earth. He will be released for a short time after that and will deceive the nations into attempting a war of rebellion against the Lord and His saints. God will make a quick end of this with fire from heaven, and the devil will finally be cast into hell and tormented there forever.
In view of all that Scripture teaches us about Satan and the power he has at present, we must conclude that he is able to obstruct the answer to our prayers as he did in the case of Daniel. But we rejoice that he is limited to doing only what God permits, and that God so works “that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
Our God is all-seeing, all-wise, all-powerful and all-loving. If He permits Satan to obstruct the answer to our prayers, it is only for a limited time, and only that His own purposes of love might be fulfilled in our lives to His glory and praise.
Answered by Eugene P. Vedder, Jr.
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org