Daniel 10 - Outline of Daniel (MENU page)
II. Daniel's Visions concerning the Times of the Gentiles (ch. 7-12)
D. The Time of the End (ch. 10-12)
1. Preparation for the vision (10:1-21)
1. In 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.
in the third year of Cyrus...- The timing of this vision was -
- - about 4 years after the vision of 'the seventy weeks' in ch. 9.
- - about 3 or 4 years after Daniel's experience in the lion's den (ch. 6).
- - about 2 years after the decree of Cyrus, which allowed Israelites to return to Jerusalem (Ezr 1:1-4).
- - about 90 years prior to the decree of Artaxerxes, which marks the start of the 'seventy weeks' (Dan 9:25).
a thing {a word, a matter} was revealed unto Daniel... and he understood the thing {a word, a matter}... the vision.-
The message of Daniel's final vision occupies the last three chapters of his book.
2 In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks.
3 I 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.
In those days, I Daniel was mourning...- For what reason was he mourning?
The text does not specify the cause of his sorrow. However, in ch. 9, Daniel had sought the Lord in prayer, "with fasting, sackcloth and ashes" (9:3). His prayer had been with mourning, then, because he was burdened for the condition of his people, and because he was watching for the fulfillment of Jeremiah's prophecy that after 70 years of captivity, the people could return to Jerusalem (Dan 9:2; Jer 25:11; 29:10). When Cyrus issued the decree allowing that return, Daniel must have rejoiced greatly. It seems likely that his initial joy had since turned to grief, because:
  • Few of his people had been willing to return. They had become comfortable in Babylon. Their hearts were cold toward God's Word. They were not watching for His promises.
  • Many enemies were hindering those who had returned, from the work of rebuilding the Temple (Ezr 4:1-5).
...I ate no pleasant bread...-
Daniel hungered, not for food, but for the fulfillment of God's Word (cp. Joh 4:31-34). He could see little benefit in personal well being, while God's people and city continued in a state of ruin (cp. Psa 137:5,6). How long would it be until the LORD would accomplish the purposes, which He had revealed concerning His people (Dan 9:24)?
- - The time of Daniel's fast coincided with the Fast of Unleavened Bread (cp. v.4; Ex 12:18-23), part of the celebration of the Passover, where Israel was to expel all leaven, and await salvation through the blood of the lamb, and the power of God. How his people needed that kind of deliverence! How Daniel yearned to see the Lord work in such a way in their behalf! While the nation ate unleavened bread for 7 days, Daniel fasted for...
...three full weeks... three whole weeks...- {lit., three sevens of days}
As noted in the study of the previous chapter, the words "full" and "whole" are translated from the HB word "yowm," meaning "days." Daniel was careful to clarify that he fasted for three weeks of days, since the 'seventy weeks' mentioned in the previous chapter were weeks {ie., 'sevens'} of years.
4 And in the four and twentieth day of the first month,
as I was by the side of the great river, which [is] Hiddekel
{ie., the Tigris};
5 Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen,
whose loins [were] girded with fine gold of Uphaz:
6 His 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.
...and behold a certain man...- Who is this person? Interpreters differ in their answer:
  • Many scholars regard this as a pre-incarnate manifestation of Christ, because:
    1. the description of this person is remarkably similar to Rev 1:12-16. However, unlike other OT theophanies (eg., Gen 12:7; 17:1; 18:1), the Lord appears, here, in His post-incarnate glory, as the almighty and victorious King.
    2. the response of Daniel and his companions (vs.7,8) - Daniel reacted much as John did when he saw the glorified Christ (Rev 1:17). Daniel's companions responded as Saul's companions did when he was encountered by the glorified Christ (Acts 9:7,8).
    3. the "certain man" (vs. 5,18), could be the same as the "son of man" and the "man" of Dan 7:13 and 8:16 (where Christ is in view).
    - - However, this view is somewhat problematic, because it seems unlikely that Christ would be hindered by a demonic prince (vs.12,13), or that He would be sent with a message from heaven (v.11), since He has all authority in Himself. Therefore, those who hold this view, suggest that Daniel interacted with Christ in vs.5-9, an angelic messenger in vs.10-15, Christ again in vs.16-17, and the angel again in vs.18-21.
  • Other scholars believe that this person is an archangel, probably Gabriel, since he had previously brought a heavenly message to Daniel (Dan 9:21), and since he would be a peer of Michael the archangel (v.21). It should be no surprise that these angelic representatives should reflect the glory of their Lord. The glorious description of this person is also similar to that of "another mighty angel" in Rev 10:1 (see the Book Notes study at Rev 10:1, where that angel is identified as Michael). The presence of angels can also have profound effects upon humans (cp. Mat 28:1-6; Rev 19:10; 22:8,9). According to this view, only one spiritual being interacts with Daniel in this chapter.
    - - However, this view is not free of problems either. If this is Gabriel, why was Daniel more troubled by his presence than at the previous occasion? Was the experience more overwhelming due to his recent fast and the resulting fleshly weakness? Daniel's responses seem more consistent with personal communication with God than with an intermediary (eg. v.17, note, however, that the word 'lord' can be translated 'sir').
  • A third view is possible when we realize that the conflict between the above two views is not as sharp as some imagine. The LORD is present everywhere, but His presence is made 'more real'...
    • through exposure to those who have spent time with Him. For example, when Moses spent time in God's presence, his face glowed with God's glory, so that he had to cover his face from the gaze of the people (Ex 34:29-35). Gabriel introduced himself to Zacharias, saying: "I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God" (Luk 1:19). Surely he must glow with the glory of God. It may be that at Daniel's previous encounter with Gabriel, the glory of God reflected by Gabriel had been more veiled from Daniel's view.
    • where His servants are truly engaged in serving Him (Mat 18:19,20; 28:19,20). Daniel had been seeking to understand God's Word and will. The angel was sent by God to enable him to understand.
    • at the place of Christ's sacrifice (as foreshadowed in the OT, Ex 20:24; 25:21,22). Daniel was at such a place in his mourning meditation on his peoples' need for a deliverance like that of the Passover (see notes at v.2,3 above).
    - - Therefore, balancing both of these views, the angel Gabriel was sent and was hindered in his coming to Daniel. But upon his arrival, Daniel was overwhelmed, not merely by the presence of the angel, but by the real presence of the God, whom the angel represented and whose message he bore.
7 And 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.
8 Therefore 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.
9 Yet 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.
{cp. Dan 8:18}
I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not...-
Christ is not known to men, except to those to whom the Holy Spirit reveals Him (Joh 16:13,14). This also was the experience of Saul (who later became the apostle Paul), when Christ first appeared to him (Acts 9:7,8; 22:9; 26:13,14). The men who accompanied him were filled with nameless dread at the presence of God. They trembled, hearing an unintelligible sound, while the Lord spoke clearly to a man who had been granted spiritual perception.
therefore, I was left alone, and saw this great vision...-
To be alone with God is prerequisite to hearing His voice and understanding His Word. Compare the experiences of Abraham, Jacob (Gen 32:24), Moses (Ex 3:3), the apostle John (Rev 1:9,10)
...there remained no strength in me... my comeliness was turned into corruption... I was in a deep sleep... my face toward the ground.-
This is consistent with the experience of others who have truly known the Presence of God. eg. Gen 15:12; Isa 6:5; Mat 17:5,6; Rev 1:17a
...my comeliness {ie., splendor, majesty, vigor} was turned into corruption {ie., ruin, destruction}...-
Confronted by the Presence of the Holy God (as revealed in His angelic messenger), Daniel is again confronted with his personal depravity: the depth of his own sinful conditon. Yet, this is a righteous man, against whom there is no sin on record. This is the man whose prayer of confession occupies most of the previous chapter. If we could see ourselves in the light of God's holiness, none of us would 'think too highly of ourselves.' Psa 90:8; Isa 64:6; Rom 12:3
10. And, behold, an hand touched me,
which set me upon my knees and [upon] the palms of my hands.
11 And 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.
and, behold, an hand touched me...-
Such strengthening was also necessary for other men who entered into close communion with the Lord (eg. Isa 6:6,7; Rev 1:17b).
...which set me upon my knees and... hands.-
Note the progression in Daniel's preparation:
  • Alone with the Lord, but facedown, without strength (overwhelmed by personal corruption and weakness in the light of the Holy One). vs. 8,9
  • on my hands and knees... (v.10). The position of prayer, but in profound weakness. The word "set" means "quivering, tottering."
  • I stood trembling {quaking in fear} (v.11). He was caused to stand so that he could receive the angel's message. Yet, having heard, his distraught condition rendered him "dumb," without ability to repeat what he had heard (v.15).
O Daniel, a man greatly beloved...- cp. v.19; Dan 9:23
It is evident from Daniel's profound weakness before the Lord, that His love for him was not due to some inherent ability that Daniel possessed to comprehend spiritual things. Rather, God loved Daniel for the same reasons that Jesus said He would love any man (Joh 14:21-24, where 'keep' means 'to watch, to attend carefully, to observe'). Daniel sought to know the LORD through His Word, hungered to understand His Will, and yearned to see His purposes fulfilled. Therefore, God would enable him to understand.
12 Then 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.
13 But 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.
14 Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days:
for yet the vision [is] for [many] days.
from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand... thy words were heard...-
When we pray according to God's will, we know that He hears us (1Joh 5:14,15). Daniel's earlier prayer had been answered, as he began to pray (Dan 9:20-23). Likewise, the answer, to Daniel's three weeks of fasting and prayer, was issued on the first day. But its delivery had been hindered for twenty-one days. In explaining the delay, the angel gives Daniel a glimpse of unseen spiritual forces and the unseen spiritual conflict.
the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me... Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me...-
The scriptures say little about the unseen spiritual realm. However, we understand that many angelic beings fell away with Satan, in his rebellion against God (2Pet 2:4; Jude 1:6; Rev 12:3,4). Satan has organized his personnel into ranks and orders (as indicated in Eph 6:11,12). Apparently, Satan has delegated responsibility over each of the world's countries and regions to his high ranking officers. "The intimation is clear that as the holy angels are sent forth in behalf of the heirs of salvation [Heb 1:14], so demons are concerned in behalf of the world-system of Satan (John 7:7; Rev 13:8)" [ScofRB]
- - The conflict in the spiritual realm, already raging in Daniel's day, will continue until the time of the end (Rev 12:7-12).
...and I remained there {ie., I became unneeded there, [he was 'in excess' relative to the conflict]} with the kings of Persia...-
Once Michael came to aid the angelic messenger, he was free to continue on his errand to Daniel. But why would a demon, who was in authority over Persia, seek to obstruct a simple messenger? Because his commander, Satan, did not want the message to get through. The deceiver wants to keep secret the outcome of his war with God.
now I am come to make thee understand... -
Note that the angel carefully outlines the application of his message:
  • what shall befall {ie., encounter} thy people...- Daniel's people are the Jewish people, the nation of Israel. This vision further refines the timing of God's purposes for them, as listed in 9:24.
  • in the latter days...- 'The latter days' is a technical term which identifies the close of the times of the Gentiles. It is the Tribulation period, the 'seventieth week' of ch. 9. (cp. Deu 4:30; Jer 23:20; Dan 2:28)
  • yet the vision is for many days...- Although Daniel was going to be shown the outcome, the end of the conflict was still in the distant future, from his time. (cp. v.1, "the time appointed [for its fulfillment] was long {ie., great, large}")
15 And when he had spoken such words unto me,
I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb.
16 And, 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.
17 For 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.
And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips...-
Strength is conveyed to Daniel, to enable him to communicate. cp. Isa 6:6-9; Rev 1:17,19
then I opened my mouth, and spake...-
Daniel, having received strength to speak, could speak only of his profound weakness and total inadequacy, in the presence of "this my Lord." (cp. v.8).
How often do you and I approach the throne of grace more boldly than we ought, without first submitting ourselves to the examination of the "the eyes of Him with whom we have to do"... that our High Priest might touch the area weakness? (Heb 4:12-16)
18 Then there came again and touched me [one] like the appearance of a man,
and he strengthened me,
19 And 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.
Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me...-
Daniel has finally received the strength needed to receive the Lord's message.
Although he was "greatly beloved" because of his desire to understand God's Word, Daniel could have no understanding, except as he was given ability to receive it (cp. Eph 1:15-18; 3:14-19). Satan attempts to obstruct the bringing of the Word to God's servant. Even when the Word gets through to him, the servant is unable to digest it, because of his own weakness. But alone in the presence of his Lord, the servant is strengthened to receive that which the Lord expounds to him (cp. Rev 3:20; Luk 24:27-32).
20 Then 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.
21 But 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.
knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? - Note the two purposes given:
  1. and now will I return to fight...-
    Daniel was being shown that the Lord is waging unseen spiritual warfare in behalf of Daniel's people, according to the battle plan previously revealed (as to the rise and fall of the four great gentile empires).
    The angel described the next phases of that warfare (as viewed from Daniel's point in time) which concerned the second and third gentile world empires: "...to fight with the prince of Persia... when I am gone forth {ie., come forth in victory}... the prince of Grecia shall come..."
    - - Daniel's profound weakness before the angelic messenger of his God demonstrates that the war cannot be won against the principalities and powers of spiritual wickedness, by fleshly strength or wisdom, but only by the Lord himself. cp. Zech 4:6; 2Cor 10:3,4
  2. but I will shew thee that which is noted {ie., inscribed} in the scripture of truth {faithfulness, reliability}...-
    Much of the message which Daniel would receive in this vision had not been previously written on earth. However, it had been forever settled in heaven (Psa 119:89). It was being revealed to Daniel precisely so that he could record it for future generations (Dan 12:4).
    - - God's word is sure. The outcome of the war is pre-determined, though none of the spiritual princes of this world 'holds with' {ie., 'is strong, is courageous, is resolute'} to stand on the Lord's side, with Gabriel, except for Michael, the high ranking angelic representative for the nation of Israel.

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