The Unseen Realm in Daniel

Daniel 4:4-8,17-18 – I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and prospering in my palace. I saw a dream that made me afraid. As I lay in bed the fancies and the visions of my head alarmed me. So I made a decree that all the wise men of Babylon should be brought before me, that they might make known to me the interpretation of the dream. Then the magicians, the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the astrologers came in, and I told them the dream, but they could not make known to me its interpretation.  At last Daniel came in before me—he who was named Belteshazzar after the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods—and I told him the dream, saying…“I saw in the visions of my head as I lay in bed, and behold, a watcher, a holy one, came down from heaven….The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.’ This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, saw. And you, O Belteshazzar, tell me the interpretation, because all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation, but you are able, for the spirit of the holy gods is in you.” 

In the first church I worked at as a new Christian leading college ministry, I was told that God used to work in supernatural ways in the past, but that He basically doesn’t do those kinds of things anymore. Theologically, this is called cessationism, that the supernatural works of God have in effect ceased. The Bible, along with church history, and my own experience reveal this is untrue and that we should cease to believe in cessationism.

Without a supernatural view of God, the book of Daniel can be little more than a few moral examples to inspire us. With a supernatural view of God, the book of Daniel reveals to us the unseen realm in which Jesus right now rules as King over an army of divine beings. They are at war against Satan, the counterfeit king, who is constantly deploying his demons to establish counterfeit kingdoms on the earth. Examples include numerous dreams, visions, the finger of God writing on a wall, and Jesus showing up in a fiery furnace to protect and deliver three godly men.

The supernatural is on full display throughout Daniel, including three times in chapter 4 and one time in chapter 5 that unbelievers sense the Holy Spirit at work in and through Daniel. Also in chapter 4, we see God deploy from the unseen realm “a watcher, a holy one” and “the holy ones” (4:23, cf. 8:13). In addition to angels, which are likely messengers and lower level divine beings (Daniel 3:28,6:22), there are numerous other divine beings mentioned throughout Daniel. The numbers of these divine beings are staggering, thousands times thousand, and ten thousand times ten thousand (7:31) These divine beings throughout Daniel include the host of heaven (8:10), prince or ruler of the host (8:11), Gabriel and Michael who are the only two angels named in the Bible (8:15-16,9:21,10:13, 10:20-21, 12:1), one who appears like a man clothed in linen (12:5-7), and a being called a lord (12:8).

Behind the world filled with human beings, we see there is a divine world filled with divine beings God sees and sometimes allows us to also see. For God, these two realms form one reality as He rules and reigns over both and will one day bring them together forever in the Kingdom of God. Until then, it is reassuring to trust by faith until we see by sight that God is actively at work in our world for His glory and our good delivering His family and defeating His foes.

Have you ever had a supernatural experience or encountered a divine being?

In addition to this introduction to and overview of Daniel, you can find the corresponding sermons, daily devotions, men’s ministry resources, and hundreds of additional sermons and Bible teaching resources for free at or on the Mark Driscoll Ministries app.

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