THE BOOK OF DANIEL, Chapter 10
[This is an excerpt from my book, Mankind’s Final 7 Years Before Christ Returns: A verse-by-verse explanation of the book of Revelation]
10 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.
Chapters 10-12 are one unit. As mentioned before, the book of Daniel was not written all at once, but was compiled over many years. Here, Daniel refers to himself in the third person, though some suggest that he may have had someone else do the writing as Jeremiah had done (Jeremiah 36:4). The “time appointed was long”, appears to mean that the prophecy is for the far future (as in Daniel 8:26; 10:14), though some translate it as “of great conflict”. While Daniel may not have fully understood previous visions (Daniel 8:27), we are told that he did understand the following.
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.
We are not told why Daniel was mourning, but may have been because the work on the temple had been halted by the enemies of the Jews (Ezra 4:1-5). Verses 12 & 14, however, seems to suggest that Daniel was seeking understanding of the previous vision. This was not a total fast, but Daniel abstained from any indulgence.
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;
The river Tigris, which was in Persia.
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.
The phrase “certain man” literally means “one man”, or simply “one”. Because this certain man is not identified as Gabriel (Daniel 8:16; 9:21), and because Daniel describes his appearance, many commentators believe that this must be Jesus. Christ is described this way in Revelation 1:13-15 (see also- Rev. 19:12; Matthew 17:2), but the seven angels of Revelation 15:6 are also described in similar apparel. It seems unlikely that this is Jesus, since verses 12-13 say that he was overpowered by an angel for three weeks until a stronger angel came to his assistance.
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.
This is similar to the account of Paul seeing a vision of Jesus in Acts 9:3-7; 22:6-9; 26:13-14.
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.
Fear seems to be the usual reaction when meeting an angel (Daniel 7:28, 8:27; Revelation 1:17; Ezekiel 1:28, 3:23; Matthew 28:5; Luke 1:12, 2:9; Judges 6:22, 13:22).
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.
While everyone else fled in terror, Daniel fainted. This may be the reason that Daniel does not record the words of the angel.
10 And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands.
There is much debate as to whose hand touched Daniel (God, Jesus, or an angel). (See also- Daniel 8:18; Revelation 1:17)
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.
In these and the following verses, we see Daniel gradually given his former strength and composure.
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.
Many commentators believe these verses teach us that each nation has its own protector angel (see also- Daniel 12:1). The fact that this spiritual messenger was opposed for 21 days, should alert us to the importance of the message. The “prince of the kingdom of Persia” does not refer to Cyrus who was ruler of Persia at this time (verse 1).
We are told in Jude 1:9, that Michael is an archangel. It is generally believed that there are several archangels, but Michael is the only one named in scripture, though the angel calls him “one of the chief princes”. Many commentators, particularly those who have trouble with the deity of Christ, wrongly equate Michael with Jesus.
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.
In Daniel 8:17, Gabriel speaks about the “time of the end”, which referred to Antiochus, who was a foreshadow of the Antichrist. The following verses give more detail and clarification concerning the Antichrist.
15 And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb.
Daniel is seized by fear, not only due to this supernatural vision, but also because the former vision prophesied destruction of the Jewish people.
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.
Most commentators believe that this is either Jesus or Gabriel. Yet, there is much debate as to whether this is the same spiritual being which had been speaking to Daniel, and whether he now changed his appearance. If God doesn’t explain something to us, then it is probably not that important.
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.
When meeting an angel, the first reaction is generally fear (verse 8), the second reaction is generally humility (Isaiah 6:1-5; Revelation 19:10, 22:8-9).
18 Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me,
This is the fourth time Daniel is strengthened.
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.
The angel encourages Daniel by repeating the address from verse 11- greatly beloved.
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.
Commentators generally believe that this verse means that the angel will seek to exercise some control over the kings of Persia, until Alexander the Great overthrows the Persian kingdom (Daniel 11:2-4; 8:3-8). Yet, I have a difficulty with their making the “prince of Persia” to be a national angel, and making the “prince of Grecia” to be specifically Alexander the Great.
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.
There is much debate as to the meaning of “noted in the scripture of truth”. Views range from Daniel’s own words, to what the angel is about to say, to the book of life written in heaven. Yet, note that whatever it refers to, the angel is about to give further explanation.
Commentators generally believe that Michael is the protecting angel of the Jewish nation (Daniel 12:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8; Revelation 12:7). Again, many wrongly equate “Michael your prince” as Jesus, protector of the church. It is unclear why only Michael strengthens the angel, when God could have sent a legion of angels.