Let’s take a deep dive into Daniel 10! So far, each chapter in Daniel has been a self-contained unit, but now that has changed. Chapters 10-11-12 are all one unit. Chapter 10 begins Daniel’s final vision. This unit is considered Daniel’s most detailed prophecy. The events of this prophecy are so thorough and precise that critics say these chapters must have been written after the events happened.
Daniel’s Final Vision
The opening verse provides the date of this final vision. The book of Daniel opens by saying, “Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus” (1:21). Here, in 10:1, we are told, “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia…” Here’s the question, do these two verses contradict themselves?
No, Chapter 1 does not say that Daniel’s career ended. Chapter 1 confirms that he continued in leadership until the Medo-Persian Empire was established. This vision is two years after Chapter 9, making Daniel 85 years old. The fact that his Babylonian name is given confirms this is the same Daniel as Chapter 1 when Nebuchadnezzar gave him that name.
This Vision is True
Daniel says this vision “was true,” meaning it would be fulfilled. This last vision dealt with “great warfare.” The term “great” refers to an extended period, meaning this vision did not refer to a single war but to a long period of trouble for Israel.
As this book opened, Daniel said he had “understood the message and had an understanding of the vision” (1:1). However, in 12:8, he says, “I heard but could not understand.” This is common with prophets as they often require divine interpretation, usually from angels.
Verse 2 switches from the third person to the first. Daniel reveals that for three weeks he mourned. We’re not told what caused Daniel to go into mourning, but there are three possible reasons for such a reaction.
- He was upset at the lack of response to Cyrus’ decree. It had been two years since Cyrus issued the decree allowing the Jews to return home, and very few chose to go back to Israel. (Ez. 2:64-67; Neh. 7:66-69)
- Those who chose to return to Jerusalem were discouraged by the number of obstacles they immediately faced (Ez. 4:1-5).
- Ezra 4:23-24 explains that because of these obstacles, the Temple’s construction stopped shortly after it had begun.
As a government official, Daniel would have received reports from Israel, and these reports, because of the obstacles and the halting of the construction of the Temple, would not have been encouraging. Those dismal reports could have caused Daniel much internal grief.
Verse 3 reveals the extent of Daniel’s mourning. Other than not eating, he abstained from anything that would have brought him pleasure, such as putting oil on his face (Ps. 45:7; 104:15; 121:6; Prov. 27:9).
Verse 4 reveals the time of Daniel’s fast would have been during the Passover festivities. The first month of the Jewish calendar is Nisan, the month of Passover. This was a time of feasting, not fasting. Passover could only be observed where the Ark of the Covenant was. Daniel would have remembered the Ark of the Covenant first at Shiloh and then in Jerusalem. The Torah demands Passover be celebrated in Jerusalem — the last place the Ark was located. Because the Ark was not present in Babylon, Daniel did not violate the law of Moses by not celebrating Passover.
Daniel Receives the Final Vision
Verse 4 explains that the vision began at the end of the three weeks of fasting. Daniel is physically at the edge of the Tigris River, which was 20 miles from Babylon (Gen. 2:14). It was believed that when Israel was outside of the land given to their forefathers, God would only speak to them in clean places, such as a place of water (Ezek. 1:3). In the book of Acts, Paul finds Lydia and the women gathering for prayer by a river side (Acts 16:13-14).
In Verses 5 and 6, Daniel makes seven points about the man who appears to him.
- He was dressed in linen, which emphasized purity (Rev. 19:8). This was the kind of garment worn by the priests for priestly service (Ex. 28:42).
- His waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz. This is a mark of royalty (Rev. 1:13). He was of rank and office.
- His body was like beryl, like a precious stone.
- His face had the appearance of lightning, meaning brilliance like the Shekinah Glory (Mt. 17:2). Glory emanated from Him.
- His eyes were like flaming torches, emphasizing discernment, and penetrating insight (Rev. 2:18).
- His arms and feet were like the gleam of polished bronze. Bronze represents judgment (Mic. 4:13). Both the altar and brazen sea in front of the Temple were made of bronze (Ex. 27:1-2; 30:6; 30:18; 30:28; 40:6).
- The sound of his words was like the sound of a tumult (a multitude). John and Ezekiel give this same description as they described the voices of heaven (Rev. 19:6, Ezek. 43:2).
Who is this? Because this description matches the description of Jesus in Revelation 1, some say it was the pre-incarnate Christ. However, in Daniel 10:13, this man tells Daniel he needs Michael’s assistance in his conflict with the prince of Persia. A demonic being would never hold Jesus up, nor would He require or need the help of an angel to do battle. Because of that added information, some believe Daniel was describing the angel, Gabriel.
Verses 7 to 9 begin to record Daniel’s reaction. For the first time, he reveals that he is not alone. We are not told why he was there or who he was with. Were these fellow government officials or were these friends? All that Daniel shares about this is that he alone witnesses the appearance of the angel. The men did not see the angel, but they knew something strange had happened. They shook with fear and terror and could not stand in this presence. This reaction is similar to Saul’s response in his encounter with God on the road to Damascus in Acts 9:3-7.
Daniel gives us some details as to what he experienced:
- He was left alone. The men who were with him fled.
- The angel appeared in physical form.
- He saw this great vision; he had a revelation (Num. 12:6; 1 Sam. 3:15).
- He had no strength left in him. He said, my vigor left me; I was frail.
- His natural color turned to a deathly pallor, and internally he felt fear.
- He lost his ability to stand.
- He heard the sound of the angel’s voice; he heard his words.
- As soon as he heard the sound of the angel’s words, he fell on his face into a deep sleep, just as Abraham did when he had a vision for God (Gen. 15:12-21).
In verse 10, the angel touches him and sets him trembling on his hands and knees. That was quite a reaction to this divine interaction. In verse 11, The angel’s message contained his purpose for coming to Daniel. As in 9:23, he tells Daniel he is greatly beloved. In the New Testament, the apostle John, another man of prophecy, is called by the same term of endearment. Daniel was then told to stand to receive the message.
The Unseen World
Verses 12 to 14 describe the spiritual unseen world. Gabriel was supposed to arrive the same day Daniel started fasting — the day Daniel humbled himself before God. Daniel’s words were heard in Heaven, and the angel was immediately dispatched to answer his prayer. In Chapter 9, Gabriel arrives before Daniel finishes his prayer, but in Chapter 10, the angel is delayed.
Verse 13 explains the reason for the angel’s delay — a fallen angel of high rank resisted the angels. Satan wages an extraordinary war of hatred against the Jewish people, both as God’s chosen and as the source of the messianic line. Satan did not want Daniel to be given this message or to record it, so he sent a leading angel to stop it. Michael, an Archangel (Revelation 12:7, Jude 9), has authority over other angels. Some angels are guardians of nations; Michael is the guardian over Israel (Dan. 12:1).
Powers, Principalities, and Spiritual Forces of Wickedness
Michael could battle the demon angel without any assistance, allowing Gabriel to come to Daniel. Demons do interfere with nations, especially with leadership and political affairs. We need to understand there is an unseen war behind the affairs happening on Earth. Like in human government, there is a hierarchy in the angelic world. Fallen angels are organized into ranks. First Corinthians 15:24 says in the end times God will “abolish all rule and all authority and power.” Ephesians 6:12 lists “powers, principalities, world-rulers, and spiritual forces of wickedness.” Colossians 2:15 lists “principalities and powers.”
Daniel 10:13 acknowledges the prince of the kingdom of Persia, and Daniel 10:20 acknowledges the transition to the prince of the kingdom of Greece. As nations transition into worldly power, these demonic entities also transition into spiritual oversight.
Demons have three common activities:
- They tried to stop the purpose of God, as seen here in Daniel 10.
- As in Revelation 16:12-16, they will aid in the gathering of nations to attack Jerusalem and to try to stop the second coming of Jesus. This ends in Armageddon and their demise.
- They try to extend Satan’s authority by doing his bidding (Ephesians 2:1-2), which is why Paul tells us to put on the whole armor of God.
The Purpose for the Angel’s Coming
Verse 14 further explains the purpose of the angel’s coming, and this is a crucial verse to understand. “Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future.” It was important for Daniel to understand that this message was for Israel and the future.
Verses 15 to 19 explain Daniel’s response. Verse 15 shows the angel’s words’ effect on Daniel — he was overwhelmed to the point that he was rendered speechless and reduced to weakness once again.
In Verse 16, for a second time, the angel touches Daniel, this time on the lips. Daniel refers to the angel as “lord” three times. In English, this address would be the same as using the term “sir.” Daniel is not referring to the personal name of God. Again, in verse 17, Daniel explains anguish has come upon him, and he had retained no strength. “As for me, there remains no strength in me, nor has any breath been left in me.”
In verse 18, Gabriel touched Daniel for the third time. The angel’s touch allowed Daniel to regain some strength. In verse 19, the angel continued to comfort Daniel and reminded him once again that he is beloved by God (9:23, 10:11). As a beloved prophet, Daniel was not to be afraid, but he was to have peace (Shalom).
The Angel’s Question
In verse 20, the angel asks, do you understand why I came to you? He asks, “Now that you have regained some of your strength, do you comprehend why I came?” It’s a rhetorical question for now because Daniel does not have an answer.
The angel said he must return to continue the fight with the prince of Persia. The decree of Cyrus had already been issued, and the spiritual battle had begun. The decree was the connection to the Temple rebuilding and with Jerusalem. Those back in the Holy Land were facing difficulties and they were in the midst of a spiritual battle.
The angel told Daniel, “The prince of Greece is about to come,” which is precisely what happened. The Empire of Greece defeated the Empire of Persia, which meant the Jews would now fall under the power of the Greek Empire. In the spiritual world, the demon prince of Greece replaced the demon prince of Persia. The unseen spiritual battle continues.
The Writing of Truth
In Verse 21, the angel speaks about “what is inscribed in the writing of truth.” Referring to what is written in books in Heaven. Things recorded that was, that is, and what will be. Part of the “writing of truth” is the Bible. This chapter ends with Gabriel knowing Michael will be with him when he returns to fight against the demonic world.
Chapters 10, 11, and 12 are all one unit. In the next part, we will do a deep dive into Daniel 11.
Maranatha, Lord Jesus!