With chapter 10 we start the last part of the prophetic section of the book of Daniel. In fact the last three chapters are one vision and is the fourth prophetic line of history. Chapter two presents the first line illustrated by a metallic image and taking us from neo-Babylon till the end of time. Chapter seven is the same historic line illustrated by wild animals and covering the same historic period as chapter two. The third line is in chapters 8 and 9 and covers the same minus Babylon and concentrating on the sanctuary and its abuse by the little horn. The fourth line as we will notice takes us over the same period, starting with Medo-Persia till the end of times
We have noticed that Daniel could be deeply impressed with what he saw in vision and what was revealed to him in dreams. When the forgotten dream of Nebuchadnezzar was revealed to him in his dream he broke forth in great praise, glory and gratitude to his God, Dan.2:19-23.
When Daniel had to explain another dream to Nebuchadnezzar he could not speak for one hour, Dan.4:19. At the end of chapter seven we find Daniel in deep trouble and even his face changed, 7:28. The NASB reads “My thoughts were greatly alarming me and my face grew pale”.
Then after receiving the vision as recorded in chapter 8 we read “and I Daniel fainted and was sick certain days”. 8:27. The NASB reading is as follows:” he was exhausted and sick for days.”
Now we are in chapter 10, starting Daniel’s last vision, and we read that he was mourning and fasting three full weeks. He did not eat, not drink and not caring for himself, 10:2, 3.
From Daniel 8:16 and 9:21 we know that the angel Gabriel was sent to Daniel to explain to Daniel what made him sick and deeply concerned. However the name Gabriel is not mentioned in chapter 10, but we read in 10:11 that somebody who had touched Daniel (10:10) spoke to Daniel saying “I am now sent” or as in NASB “I have been sent to you”. Commentators do conclude that this must be the Gabriel who was sent to Daniel in chapters 8:16 and 9:21. Seeking assistance in this issue Dr.Eric Livingston wrote the following: “Yes, the priestly Christ at the beginning (10:5-9), referred to as Michael later (vss.13, 21) meaning that the other super natural figure (vss.10-21 would be an angel and with the strong correlation of actions, words and characteristics, Gabriel the logical choice.” (e mail, November 1, 2010)
The same is confirmed by Dr.Shea: ”The angel Gabriel appears to Daniel later in this chapter” (Shea page 233)
Dr.Doukhan writes as follows:” Overwhelmed by his extraordinary vision, the prophet is too disturbed to even try to understand, now the familiar angel Gabriel intervenes to strengthen and comfort Daniel and to help him understand.” (Doukhan p.160)
To give evidence Doukhan writes further:” The messenger from above presents himself in the same terms as those used in chapter 9. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard and I have come in response to them (Dan.10:12) (Doukhan p.160/1)
After these lines of introduction we will start in the usual manner and go verse by verse or section by section through Daniel chapter 10.
The chapter starts in giving the date as done for other chapters in the book of Daniel. “The third year of Cyrus king of Persia”. McCready Price gives the date of 536BC (Price p.264) Doukhan does the same in his book, page 157 and in the McArthur study Bible we find the same date, 536BC.
Daniel also gives here his Babylonian name of Belteshazzar which was given to him by an officer of Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 1:17.
It is stated that the vision was true but the time appointed long or in the KJV margin “great”. NASB reads “true and of great conflict.”
Daniel was in a period of fasting for three full weeks, that is weeks of days not prophetic weeks of years. Daniel also mentions the place, by the side of the river Hiddekel or Tigris. The reason for this fasting period is not precisely stated.
Dr.Bill Shea and McCready Price suggest that it had to do with Daniel’s concern for his people. Daniel was worried about the future of his people, may be same like in Daniel 8:14. He might have had another reason which made him so concerned that he fasted full three weeks and humbling himself before God. The same is suggested by Dr.McGee in NUBR, the KJV Bible commentary and the SDA Bible Commentary.
Some of the Jews had returned to Palestine for rebuilding the temple as a result of the decree by Cyrus. But word had come back to Daniel that the situation was not well.
Much opposition was experienced from the Samaritans which are recorded in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.
Dr.Shea elaborates on this in his book on pages 231/2. The enemies of the Jews had hired counsellors against the people involved in rebuilding the temple. Remember Daniel ten is in the time of the Medo-Persian Empire. The counsellors hired against the Jews caused the rebuilding of the temple to stop.
Shea writes as follows “Whoever they were talking to, those counsellors had success and got the building program in the temple area in Jerusalem stopped. This occurred right about the time that Daniel was fasting about an unspecified problem in chapter 10. Since the major problem for the Jews was the work stoppage in regard to the rebuilding of the Jerusalem temple, it is logical to put these two pieces of the puzzle to gather to suggest that this was the problem Daniel was fasting about. The text of Daniel 10 does not say directly, but this seems the most likely candidate from which
what we know of the history of that time.” (Shea page 232)
L.R.Conradi in his book about Daniel 10 writes in similar terms as Dr.Bill Shea. Conradi wrote in 1914 and Dr.Shea in 2005.
There is another interesting twist regarding the dating giving by Daniel in 10:4 it is the four and twentieth day of the first month which is at the time of the Jewish Passover date, Lev.23:5, 14th of the first month. Daniel was fasting 10 days thereafter.
We find this confirmed by Doukhan, page 158 and Nelson Study Bible in the NUBR
Not only came this vision and was Daniel’s fasting during the Passover time but Dr.Shea concludes that the vision itself took place on the Sabbath as John on the isle of Patmos received his vision the Revelation of Jesus Christ on the Lord’s day, the Sabbath, Rev.1:10; Mark 2:28. Dr Shea argues as follows, based on what Daniel writes in Daniel 10:2, 3 three full weeks. We quote Shea: The original language uses an idiom here to indicate that the weeks were “full”. Full weeks come to an end after seven days; they end on Sabbath, the seventh day. Since the vision appeared to Daniel at the end of three full weeks, it must also have come to him on a Sabbath day. That means that this final prophecy of the book of Daniel was most likely given on a Sabbath. This is the only vision in the book that we can date with such precision. (Shea p.234)
Shea also mention a few points of comparison between Daniel and John:
- Both men were exiled and living on foreign soil.
2. Both men were about of the same age.
3. Both had a vision of Christ
4. The visions of both men can be called apocalyptic.
Finally at the end of this first section of Daniel 10 the place is mentioned where the vision took place, by the river Hiddekel (Gen.2:14) or the Tigris. The vision of Daniel 8 was by the river Ulai.
Daniel 10:5, 6.
Now Daniel start telling us what he saw in this vision and he gives a pretty clear description of the person he saw. The person is dressed in linen, priestly clothing.
Many items of the sanctuary were made of linen, read Exodus 25-28 and 35. The loins of that person were girded with fine gold. Body was shining like beryl or sopaz. The person had lightning face and eyes like lamps of fire. Arms and feet like polished brass and a voice of a multitude, we would say a booming voice
How does this compare which what John saw in his vision on the isle of Patmos? (Rev.1:13-15). John described it as a person clothed in a garment, golden girdle, head and hair white as snow, yes as flame of fire, feet like fine brass and a voice of many waters. We know from further statements in Revelation one that John had a vision of Jesus Christ. Compare that with what Daniel saw here in chapter 10, we make the correct conclusion that Daniel also had a vision of Jesus Christ. And most likely because the person Daniel saw was dressed in linen; Daniel had a vision of Christ as priest or even High Priest. We have this statement from Ellen G.White in SDABC vol.4 – 1173 “No less a personage than the Son of God appeared to Daniel. This description is similar to that given by John when Christ was revealed to him on the isle of Patmos. Our Lord now comes with another heavenly messenger to teach Daniel what would take place in the latter days, This knowledge was given to Daniel and recorded by inspiration for us upon whom the ends of the world are come. RH Feb.8, 1881”
This vision of Daniel also has similarities as seen by Ezekiel in Ezekiel 1:28.
Doukhan brings in comparing features of what Joshua saw in Josh.5:14. “Our text of Daniel 10 echoes then Dan.8:11 (prince of the host) and Joshua 5:14, 15 (captain of the host) The “ man” of Daniel’s vision, the supernatural warrior of Joshua’s vision, and the heavenly high priest of Daniel 8 are the same person. The vision confirms what the linguistic echoes suggest.
It is the High Priest that Daniel sees now in his magnificent apparel, complete with linen robe and gold belt. (Dan. 10:5; cf.Lev.16:4, 23; Ex.28:4, 5, 8) (Doukhan p.159)
Apparently other people were with Daniel when he had this extraordinary vision. These men did not see what Daniel saw, but senses the severity of what happened. They were shaken and left in terror for hiding themselves. It is a similar situation as we find later with Saul recorded in Acts 9:7 when Saul was on his way to Damascus and had a vision of Christ.
Daniel 10: 8 and 9.
Daniel now being alone sees this great vision and is again physically and emotionally affected. He is completely weakened and deprived of all his strength. Daniel even falls asleep or in a state of unconsciousness, but still hears a voice talking to him. However it is not recorded what the voice says. Is this similar as what we find in Revelation 10:4 where John heard seven thunders but was not allowed to record what was said?
It appears Daniel is flat on the ground; face down .It is a posture of deep reverence for what he is allowed to see. The person does not refuse this kind of reverence as was refused when John felt down, read Rev.19:10 and 22:8, 9.The conclusion is correct that Daniel was in the presence of a divine being and John in the presence of an angel.
Daniel 10:10 and 11
At this point Daniel is being touched by a hand and made to move up on knees and hands. He is trembling. What happens now is similar as what happened in 9:21-23. Daniel is addressed as “greatly beloved” and the person says I have been sent and Daniel is asked to stand upright. The whole situation makes Daniel trembling. Daniel again is in the presence of the angel Gabriel as he was in Daniel 9. Daniel is in the same position as John was on the isle of Patmos when he had his vision and lost all his strength, Rev.1:17 but was told “fear not”. We should not have fear in the presence of holy angels who are our ministers, Hebr.1:14, but at the same time it will be a deeply moving experience.
Daniel also is told “Fear not”. Then Daniel is told that from the first day he humbled himself before God, referring to Daniel’s period of fasting (10:2, 3) his words have been heard and as a result I have come. The NASB reads “Your words were heard and I have come in response to your words.” The NASB footnote reads: “Daniel’s prayer was heard on the first day of the three week period, but the answer was delayed because of angelic warfare.” This reminds us of what the apostle wrote in Eph.6:12 that the fight is not against flesh and blood, humans, but against the powers of darkness. Also what happened to Job and recorded in Job 1 and 2. This gives us a clue why sometimes our prayers are not answered when we look for answers, there is a cosmic angelic warfare going on and physically we are not aware of it. But the message for us is also “fear not”. We must trust the word of Jesus in John 16:33 we will have tribulations and problems to go through, but Christ has overcome the one who causes these tribulations, the Devil. In Christ we also will have the victory, 1Cor.15:57; Rev.12:10, 11.
In verse 13 Daniel is being told what the hold up was. Gabriel’s way was blocked by the prince of Persia and lasted “one and twenty days” just the same time Daniel was in fasting.
The question can be raised ‘who was this prince of Persia?’ Some commentators are of the opinion it was an evil angel, the guardian angel of the kingdom of Persia. In Ezekiel 28 we find the fall of Satan or Lucifer according to Isa.14:12 illustrated via the king of Tyrus. The same could be the case here in Daniel 10:13 an evil angel operating under type of the prince of Persia opposing the mission of Gabriel and blocking the way to answer Daniel’s prayer. Ellen G.White writes the following in her book “Prophets and Kings”:” While Satan was striving to influence the highest powers in the kingdom of Medo-Persia to show disfavour to God’s people, angels worked in behalf of the exiles. The controversy was one in which all heaven was interested. Through the prophet Daniel we are given a glimpse of this mighty struggle between the forces of good and the forces of evil. For three weeks Gabriel wrestled with the powers of darkness, seeking to counteract the influences at work on the mind of Cyrus; and before the contest closed Christ Himself came to Gabriel’s aid.’ The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days.’ Gabriel declares;
‘but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia’. All that heaven could do in behalf of the people of God was done.
The victory was finally gained; the forces of the enemy were held in check all the days of Cyrus, and all the days of his son Cambyses, who reigned about seven and half years.” (P.K.p.571/2)
Gabriel tells Daniel in 10:14 that he has come to inform him about what will happen
to his people in the latter days This may have shocked Daniel again, the expression in
the latter days, not on a short term.
We notice then in 10:15 that Daniel became dumb, speechless we would say. We have at times the same experience that we say ‘I am speechless’. I had such an experience literally that I could not speak because I was so overwhelmed. My vocal cords had to be loosened before I could speak again.
The person who speaks to Daniel touches his lips and gives him strength. Isaiah also had his lips touched when he was overwhelmed with the throne vision and saw his
own unworthiness, Isa.6:7.. When Daniel had his strength back he told the heavenly person that he could speak. Then the person continues of whom we believe was Gabriel and he said “Do you know why I have come to you?” Gabriel wants to make sure that all is clear in Daniel’s mind. Some commentators find this a bit harsh and give it a softer reading, “I hope you understand the matter, I have given you strength”.
That is the purpose of heavenly messengers to give us strength and courage and to fear not. Joshua had the same experience and was encouraged not to fear, Josh.1:7-9 and later Joshua had a heavenly vision to strengthen him, when he met the Captain of the host, Josh.5:13-15 and 6:2-5. In all cases the Lord shows clearly that He is with His people. We have the great Emmanuel who is with us alway, Matth.1:23 and 28:20
In Dan.10: 20 Gabriel also tells Daniel what he will do next, returning to his battle with the prince of Persia which will be followed by the prince of Grecia. Daniel also will be informed further what is in the Word of Truth, which is most likely what we will learn in the continuation of this vision in chapter 11. Finally Gabriel declares and assures that no one is helping him in this battle than Michael your prince.
We have to understand that a battle is raging round and about us and that no one will be on our side than only Michael the prince, the mighty one. This is the great and encouraging lesson we all must learn from this impressive chapter, Daniel 10.
Pastor Jan T.Knopper
Revisited August 2013