Daniel's Vision of
the Latter Days Part 1
Daniel chapters 10
though 12 are dealing with a single vision that Daniel received late
in his life. We notice that in the seventy weeks prophecy
there were three intervals of time in the vision. The first
interval dealt with the period of time from the decree of Cyrus
where he authorized the rebuilding of the temple to the time when
it, the streets and the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt.
The temple and the city
had been destroyed by king Nebuchadnezzar of the Babylonian Empire
because of Israel's idolatry. Nebuchadnezzar's reason for
destroying Jerusalem was because her kings insisted on revolting
against him and he decided to put an end to them thus setting a grim
example to other nations within his empire of his tolerance for such
behavior. Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem on his way to conquer
Egypt and sent several captives and some of the temple vessels back
to Babylon. He then set a king (Jehoiachin), on the throne and
exacted a tribute from Israel to be paid yearly. Jehoiachin,
also known Coniah and Jeconiah in scripture, wasted no time in withholding the
yearly tribute and was replaced with Zedekiah who rebelled as well.
For this third time that Nebuchadnezzar had to deal with Israel, he
made a wasteland out of Jerusalem and utterly destroyed the ancient
temple that Solomon had built centuries earlier.
From the first overthrow
of Nebuchadnezzar to the decree issued by Cyrus was a period of seventy years as
prophesied by Jeremiah. Following was a period of time in
which the city and the temple was rebuilt. This period of time
was the first interval of the seventy weeks prophecy by Daniel as
recorded in chapter 9. The third interval was Messianic and
started with the crucifixion of Christ and continued for an
indefinite period of time and encompassed the gospel age up to the
time when the new covenant had been both fully revealed and fully
confirmed. Both the first and third intervals of the seventy
weeks prophecy included specific events which would and did take
place during these time periods with amazing accuracy. The
second interval in the seventy weeks prophecy only received a
The first interval was
for seven sevens, the second interval was for sixty two sevens and
the third interval was for one seven, totaling seventy sevens in
all. The sixty two sevens is the period of time between the
rebuilding of Jerusalem and the crucifixion of Christ which included
all the events associated with the coming of the new covenant.
There were no details regarding the sixty two weeks (sevens) given
except what was necessary to identify the beginning of it and the
end of it (Daniel 9:25-26). Daniel's last recorded vision of
his life is a vision of the events that will occur, for the most
part, in the sixty two
weeks (sevens), interval of the seventy weeks prophecy and then goes beyond
to the destruction of the temple in 70 AD where the time period for
this vision ends. Everything
that was prophesied in Daniel chapter 10 through 12 has been
Daniel Chapter 10 does
not get into the actual vision itself. What we see in this
first chapter is an account of the facts leading up to vision and an
introduction to some heavenly beings and we learn that there are
events going on with the affairs of Daniel's world
which are being carried out under the direction of spiritual beings.
What we will take away from this chapter is that the events of the
nations of earth at that time are not all progressing without
direction and are under the supervision of celestial beings and in
accordance with a predetermined plan of divine origin. The
conclusion can be drawn that this has not changed and that all the
events we have seen in history and that will be seen in the future
are likewise following a master plan which scripture says has been
in place since before the foundation of the world.
Let us make an
observation before we get into this part of Daniel's last recorded
vision. It is human nature to want to know more of the unseen
things which go on around us. It is easy to allow oneself to
speculate and this is not a bad thing as long as we contain our
speculation to just that and not allow it to be presented as an
absolute truth. There are absolute truths in scripture.
And absolute truth is something that can be demonstrated from
scripture as being the truth in all cases with no exceptions.
An example of an absolute truth is that we must hear, believe and
obey God if we want to please Him with our lives of service to Him.
The steps for becoming a Christian and then living the Christian
life faithfully are clearly spelled out in scripture and we can know
for an absolute certainty that we are saved. John tells us
this in 1 John 3:24 where he says our obedience to God is how we can
know we are living in Christ. It is an absolute truth that
obedience to the will of God is necessary in order to live in
There are other things
in scripture which are not as clearly spelled out. These
things are shrouded in mystery with only clues scattered here and
there which we must assemble carefully in order to gain some
understanding of them. Examples of this are the angels and how
they work behind the scenes to bring about God's purpose on earth.
An error in this understanding does not constitute sin because there
is no transgression of God's law involved with an erroneous
understanding of this. A misunderstanding of the role of
angels does not constitute a transgression of God's will because we
are not commanded to understand the workings of angels perfectly.
There is an absolute truth regarding the workings of angels, but
there is insufficient evidence in scripture to know the absolute
truth of how they work and all that they do. We do not know
for certain just how Satan came to be what he did and why he made
the choices he made. We do not know for certain why some of
the angels chose to reject God's will and follow Satan. We do
not know for sure how this all works in God's grand plan but we do
know that it does. What is important to keep in mind is that
speculation is just that and no more and it would be unwise to go
beyond that and teach it as an absolute truth.
I have gone into detail
on this because Daniel chapter 10 opens up a wide opportunity for
insight into the mysterious workings going on behind the scenes and
it is very easy to make hypotheses beyond the text and get into the
realm of speculation. I have noticed in my research of this
chapter that the really good commentaries refrain from going beyond
just the provable facts of Daniel 10. This is probably the
wisest course of action in that the authors have avoided speculation
altogether and have not opened themselves up to criticism.
Nevertheless, it is impossible to study this intriguing chapter of
scripture from Daniel and not try and draw conclusions from it based
on little tidbits and pearls of knowledge gleaned from other places
in scripture. I am not going to resist this temptation in my
preparation of this study. I am going to speculate but before
we get into it, I want it made perfectly clear that conjecture is
what it is and no more. I will lay the facts out and it will
be up to the readers themselves to make their own applications and
do their own hypothesizing. When I do submit to the temptation
to speculate, I will clearly indicate that I am doing so. So with this disclaimer in place,
let us now look to the text of a very interesting and intriguing
chapter of scripture.
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
Daniel receives this vision in the third
year of Cyrus, king of Persia who became the sole ruler of
Medo-Persian empire in 536 BC. This would make the date about
533 BC. Cyrus was reigning over the Medo-Persian empire when
Gubaru conquered the city of Babylon. Cyaxares, the uncle of
Cyrus and a Median, reigned over the Babylonian province until he died in 536
making Cyrus the sole ruler of the Medo-Persian
empire. The years of the captivity add up to seventy this way and it
is my belief that this best fits the historical timetable.
"a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar"
Daniel is here announcing that the vision he is about to record
had been revealed to him. He made sure he was properly
identified as the same Daniel who had been taken captive and served
the kings in the courts of Babylon for the last seventy or so years.
Let's keep in mind that the Babylonian monarchy had recently been
overthrown and an entirely new regime had come to power. It
was therefore necessary for Daniel to thus preserve his identity.
There were doubtless other people named Daniel, but there was only
one Daniel who was also known as Belteshazzar who would be
recognized as a prophet of God. When the Israelites living at
the time of this prophecy read it, they would know who Daniel was
and that what he wrote was revealed by God.
"but the time appointed was long"
Here we have God revealing to Daniel that the fulfillment of
this prophecy would be over a long period of time. This is in
stark opposition to the words we see in Revelation where inspiration
stated that those events were to "shortly come to pass"
(Revelation 1:1), and the time was "at hand" (Revelation 1:3;
22:10). Daniel was told that the time for the fulfillment of
this prophecy was going to be for a long time. John was told
in his vision that the time for fulfillment was at hand. Much
confusion of scripture is propagated through ignoring these simple
little textual clues.
"and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the
Daniel here stated that he understood the vision he had
received. This vision covers a lot of history. It is
unclear to what extent Daniel understood the details. It is
unlikely he knew many of the specifics involved but rather had an
understanding of the general message of the vision itself.
Daniel wasn't given the names of any of the kings that would rise
and fall in this vision. It is up to those living afterwards
to match the elements of the vision with actual history. Of
significance to this study is that we realize that all of the events
which were seen in the vision have been fulfilled.
"In those days I Daniel was mourning
three full weeks. 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."
It was about three years after the decree went
out to rebuild the temple, so by now the Samarian opposition to the
Jews rebuilding of the city had arisen and construction had been
stopped. The Samaritan opposition began in the second year
after the release of the Israelites to return to Jerusalem and
rebuild the temple (Ezra 3-4). They came to Zerubbabel and
offered to help in the rebuilding but were rejected. Because
of their idolatrous practices which had so utterly corrupted them,
the Israelites who returned to rebuild Jerusalem refused to have
anything to do with them. The Samaritans being frustrated over
their rejection set out to inhibit the progress of the Israelites of
the tribes of Benjamin and Judah from rebuilding the city and the
temple. They knew after their help was rejected that if
Jerusalem rose again, they would have a mighty enemy at their
Daniel's distress which drove him to the mourning and
fasting he was subjecting himself to is probably over the ceasing of
the work on the temple in Jerusalem. This would explain why
Daniel was in such distress at a time when one would think he would
be jubilant with the news of the temple being rebuilt. There
also has to be some reason why Daniel chose not to return to
Jerusalem. He was an aged man at this time and doubtless would
have been of little help in the labor end of the process. The
Samaritan opposition started rather quickly upon the arrival of the
freed Israelites to Jerusalem and it is probable that the aged
Daniel, who was highly respected in the courts of Babylon, felt that
his influence with the kings would better serve the cause.
Daniel was likely mourning and fasting because he was unsure over the chain
of events that was unfolding and he was concerned about what would
befall his people as a nation in the future.
Of significance here is the great
distress which had overcome Daniel at this time. This was no
spur of the moment decision for him to go into mourning.
Daniel did not wake up one day out of the blue and decide he would
go on a fast. The first month of the Jewish calendar is Abib
which was when the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread was
observed. The Passover was to begin on 14th day (Exodus 23:15)
and the Feast of Unleavened Bread beginning on the 15th and going
through the 21st. This was a time when the old city of Jerusalem
would have been filled with Israelites who had made their yearly
journey to Jerusalem for this occasion.
Soon upon the arrival of the freed
Israelites in Jerusalem to rebuild it the daily sacrifices were set
up and they observed the Feast of the Tabernacles. The keeping
of the feasts and the daily burnt offerings were very important to
the Israelites. And the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened
Bread was one such significant observance of Levitical Law.
Instead of making the trip to Jerusalem and participating in this
feast, Daniel chose to remain in Babylon and mourn. We need to
be aware of the distress of this man. The Decree went out in
the first year of Cyrus to rebuild the temple and the city, now here
it is the third year of his reign and the rebuilding effort had been
frustrated. It was the first month of the Jewish year and the
time for the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread had arrived and
Daniel went into a three week fast right before the time appointed
for that Jewish event and continued his fast through that and
beyond. This vision came to Daniel three days after the
conclusion of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The walls of
Jerusalem were still in ruins. The temple had little more than
a foundation at that time, the Samaritans had frustrated the
rebuilding effort and Daniel, who at this time was an aged man,
realized that he would probably never live to see Jerusalem and the
temple restored. It had been over seventy years since Daniel
had been able to offer his worship to God in the temple in
Jerusalem. To say that Daniel was distressed is a gross
understatement of fact. Daniel was in severe mental anguish,
his grief and anxiety were of such proportions that he refused to
eat and he refused to anoint himself with oil which was a big
personal hygiene practice of the times. Daniel had been
laboring all his life on behalf of his countrymen and in service to
God, even while in captivity and now in the sunset of his life when
he should have been making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to worship God,
he was still in Babylon with the city and the temple of God still
laying in ruins.
And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by
the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel;
This vision came in “the first month” of
the accounted Jewish calendar year. This was the month of
Nisan which is the same as Abib, which occurs as this in the Pentateuch.
Nisan occurs in Nehemiah 2:1 and Esther 3:7. It denotes the
month of flowers.
Daniel was beside the river
“Hiddekel” which is the Tigris River. This river joins the
Euphrates in al-Qurnah, Iraq, to form the river Shatt el-'Arab which
flows into the Persian Gulf. The ancient city of Babylon
was located in what is now present day Al Hillah, Iraq which is
about 200 air miles from al-Qurnah, Iraq. The closest point
the Tigris river runs from the ancient city of Babylon is about 36
miles. Daniel was at least 36 miles from Babylon when he had
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:
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.
Who is this magnificent person who
appeared here to Daniel? Some have suggested that he was Gabriel;
but the remarkable similarity between this passage and the
description of Jesus Christ in Revelation 1 points to Christ
"... one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to
the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His
head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his
eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as
if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many
I am going to submit for consideration
that this individual that appeared to Daniel was a
pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ." This understanding
is placed by a comparison with Revelation 1:13, where John saw the
glorified Christ. The fact that Daniel alone saw this
individual corresponds with what occurred to the apostle Paul and
his companions on the Damascus road. Paul's companions heard
only the voice but saw no man (Acts 9:3). Inherent in such
facts is the truth that when Christ appeared to a person, he was
seen only by those whom Christ chose to see him.
The imagery of lightning and fire are
representative of judgment and we certainly know that Jesus Christ
is the executor of judgment (John 5:27, Jude 15).
Lightning and thunder are terror-striking signs showing the
latent power of the individual to which they are attributed. See
Exodus 19:16. Lightning and thunder are representative of the power
of God and His might.
Fire is a symbol of divine wrath in destruction, judgment or
punishment (Genesis 19:24, Exodus 9:23). Fire in the Old Testament
is especially associated with the divine presence (Genesis 15:17,
Exodus 3:2, Exodus 13:21, Exodus 19:18).
We need to keep in mind that this would
not be the first time such a thing occurred within the lifetime of
Daniel. Recall the fourth individual present in
Nebuchadnezzar's fiery furnace on the occasion of the refusal of
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to bow down to the golden statue of
Nebuchadnezzar and worship it. There is much evidence that
supports that individual to be the pre-incarnate Christ Himself on
that occasion as well.
Notice the words Daniel uses to address
this individual, "my lord" (Vs 16,17), and notice the heavenly
messenger accepted this designation without rebuke or correction.
There are difficulties with this understanding and two of the
scholars upon which I am relying heavily for this study do not share
the view that this individual was the pre-incarnate form of Jesus
Christ. Having previously completed the study of Revelation,
upon reading Daniel's description of Him, I immediately saw a
comparison in the language between this and John's description of
Jesus Christ in Revelation and I find the evidence in support of
Daniel's visitor being the same as described by John in Revelation 1
to be compelling enough to consider it.
If this is not a pre-incarnate form of
Jesus Christ, then who was it? Daniel did not name him by name
as he did Gabriel twice before. In verse 13 we see this
individual telling Daniel that he remained with the "prince of
Persia" and received assistance from "Michael". It is
difficult to picture one of the Godhead needing assistance for
anything. So I have to acknowledge that Daniel's heavenly
visitor may be a high ranking angel instead of a pre-incarnate form
of Jesus Christ. As for his identity, we are not told and any
speculation beyond that is conjecture at best. Evidence for
and against this individual being an epiphany of Jesus Christ will
be presented as we progress through this study.
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.
Daniel was not traveling alone on this
occasion. Indeed, he was an elderly man and to be alone thirty
five or more miles from Babylon along the banks of the Tigris river
would have been akin to a death sentence for a man of his age.
Daniel was without a doubt on a royal errand of some sort, carrying
out the business of the king and was accompanied by a group of men
sufficient to protect him and see him delivered safely to and from
his destination. The text does not give us any indication of
why Daniel was where he was and what his purpose for being there
was. However, we can confidently surmise that if a quiet walk
along the river was Daniel's purpose, the Euphrates was much closer and
more convenient for a man of Daniel's age to access from Babylon.
These brave men did not see the vision
but they felt a shaking sufficient to alarm them enough to send them
scampering off to escape its presence, leaving Daniel utterly alone
with his heavenly visitor. It is obvious that this message was
meant for Daniel's eyes and ears alone. At this time in
Daniel's life, he had spent about seventy two or three years in
captivity. If we were to presuppose his age at thirteen when he was
initially taken captive, we are dealing with a man who was in his
late eighties and who had been on a three week fast prior to this.
Daniel was not going to run anywhere. The best he would be
able to do would have been to do exactly what he did. Remain
behind and watch his valiant entourage disappear in flight as they
abandoned him to whatever fate was to befall him.
We have a similar occurrence in
scripture when Jesus Christ met Paul on the road to Damascus.
The men who were with Paul saw the light but they did not hear the
voice of Jesus, (Acts 22:9). Regardless of who this heavenly
visitor was, it is obvious that the message was meant for Daniel
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.
Daniel was in all probability
approaching his ninetieth birthday, he had been fasting for three
weeks and he was left alone on the banks of the Tigris river with
this heavenly visitor who was obviously one of great power and
authority. There was a shaking of sorts which sent his
associates fleeing for their lives leaving Daniel utterly alone.
Who wouldn't be shaken? Who wouldn't be overcome with feelings
of anxiety or fear over such an event? Daniel's response here
is what one would expect given the circumstances.
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.
Even in Daniel's weakened state, the
words of his heavenly visitor were clear to him. But when he
heard his voice, Daniel was overcome and fell on his face on the
ground in a deep sleep. I would say given the circumstances,
Daniel fainted upon hearing the voice of his messenger, being
overcome with the whole event in its suddenness and in view of the
apparent majesty of his visitor. This was not the first time
Daniel had been physically impacted from the presence of a heavenly
messenger (Daniel 8:27).
It is by no means a unique thing for
someone to be so physically impacted from such a visit from a
heavenly being. Gideon feared for his life (Judges 6:22-23).
Manoah, the father of Samson feared for his life and for the life of
his wife (Judges 13:22). Job was overwhelmed with guilt and
repented in dust and ashes (Job 42:5,6). Isaiah was
overwhelmed with guilt (Isaiah 6:5). Peter fell to his knees
in grief and mental agony when Jesus approached him after His
resurrection (Luke 5:8).
And, behold, an hand
touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my
Daniel's heavenly visitor touched him,
reviving him and helped him to his knees with his hands open and on
the ground. Today we refer to this posture as being on "all
fours". This posture is one which is assumed when someone is
bowing before a ruler. This heavenly messenger revived Daniel
and set him upon his knees in front of him. Let us call to
mind the actions of the messenger in Revelation when John fell down
at his feet as recorded in Revelation 19:10, and 22:9. Bowing
before anyone other than God is forbidden and this Bible student
finds it odd that the heavenly messenger visiting Daniel would place
him in a position of worship at his feet if he were not a suitable
candidate for that honor. I am impressed with the fact
inspiration specifically recorded that Daniel was set upon his hands
and knees in such a posture and I feel this is evidence in support
of this heavenly visitor being a theophany which is a pre-incarnate
appearance of Jesus Christ.
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.
When in the presence of rulers of the
time, one assumed a posture of submission, usually on one's knees
with their face down towards the ground. This individual then
stands when he receives the ruler's command to do so. Standing
implies attention. Here Daniel received the command to stand
upright in order to receive the words he was to be given. It
should be noted that when John was instructed to stand in
Revelation, he was told not to do what he was doing and to worship
God. No such command came from Daniel's visitor.
One of the objections to this visitor
being a theophany of Jesus Christ is that he affirms to Daniel that
He was sent. This implies the role of a servant who is acting
under the direction of a superior authority. This is a valid
reasoning and one that needs to be taken into account when
considering the identity of Daniel's heavenly visitor. We also
need to consider the fact that Jesus was sent to earth by God the
Father to die for our sins. The Holy Spirit was sent by Jesus
to earth as a comforter and supporter of the apostles during the
infancy of the church. This fact does not in any way militate
against the authority of either Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit.
Neither of these members of the Godhead were any less God because
they were sent by one of the others. There is a hierarchy
within the heavenly host (1 Corinthians 11:3, Ephesians 1:20-21).
Daniel had been set upon his knees and
then commanded to rise to his feet. He was at this time
standing before his heavenly visitor and the text says he was
trembling, obviously in fear. One would have to imagine
oneself in Daniel's position to understand just what was going with
him emotionally. To be with a group of men beside a river,
obviously on some mission of sorts and to have a heavenly visitor
which frightened everybody else off, leaving Daniel alone and then
to appear before him, speaking to him and touching him. It's
little wonder he fainted and had to be revived, then set up on his
knees. Given the same circumstances, anyone would have a
similar if not more severe reaction as well. Now factor into
the equation, Daniel's advanced age and the fact that he was at the
end of a three week period of fasting. The very fact that
Daniel could even stand under these circumstances is remarkable to
say the least.
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.
Daniel was indeed visibly terrified and
as soon as he was on his feet, he was comforted by his heavenly
visitor and assured that his petitions had been heard by God from
the beginning of his petition. Daniel's visitor, whoever he
was had come for the express purpose of helping Daniel to understand
what was going to happen in the latter days as he affirms in V14.
This is obviously what Daniel was seeking understanding about.
In order to appreciate what Daniel was
looking for, we need to be aware of the circumstances which were
present at the time. Daniel had earlier received the vision of
the seventy sevens and was told that Jerusalem and the temple would
be rebuilt. Cyrus had issued the decree to rebuild the temple
and Jerusalem in about 537 BC. Opposition to the rebuilding of
the temple from the Samaritans started soon after which put a halt
to the rebuilding process two years later in about 535 BC.
Daniel knew from the prophecy of the seventy sevens that the city
and the temple would be rebuilt and he knew it would be in troublous
times, meaning there would be difficulties associated with it.
Daniel was not told to what extent the difficulties associated with
the rebuilding would be.
The time for the Passover and the Feast
of Unleavened Bread was approaching when Daniel went into mourning
and fasting. The Passover Sacrifice was a significant event in
the lives of the faithful Israelites. This event was one of
three yearly times in which the Israelites would journey to
Jerusalem. This was the event that brought Jesus to Jerusalem
when He was betrayed and crucified. Daniel knew the
building of the temple and the city had been halted and that there
would be no yearly gathering of Israelites at the temple in order to
observe all of the elements associated with the Passover. Ezra
teaches in 3:5 that all of the yearly feasts including the Passover
had been observed at their set times when the Israelites released by
Cyrus returned to Jerusalem.
The approach of the Passover and the
knowledge that the temple which was still in ruins is what must have
driven Daniel into the state of mourning he was in. Daniel was
old enough when he was taken from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 606
BC to remember the Passover, the eating of the Paschal lamb and the
Feast of Unleavened Bread and the associated events which were
conducted at the temple.
Daniel was in the sunset of his life and
when the decree went out from Cyrus to rebuild, Daniel probably
hoped that it would be accomplished while yet he lived on the earth
so that he and his countrymen would have a chance to offer sacrifice
and worship from the temple. This current setback in the
rebuilding obviously had a great impact on Daniel and with the
approach of the Passover and the knowledge that the rebuilding of
the temple had been halted, he wanted to understand what was going
to happen with his people. He was obviously upset enough about
it that he chose to forego the eating of the Paschal lamb, choosing
rather to enter into a voluntary state of fasting which kept him
from observing this feast. This fact alone speaks volumes as
to the genuine and deep state of sorrow that Daniel was in.
and I am come for thy words
This means that Daniel's visitor had
come in response to Daniel's prayer. Daniel had been praying
and fasting for three weeks at this time, which is twenty one days.
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.
Daniel's heavenly visitor here says that
he had been detained by the prince of Persia for the exact same time
period that Daniel had been fasting. This is not in reference
to any physical conflict as we know them, rather this visitor was
giving Daniel a glimpse into a spiritual conflict going on behind
the perception of mankind. The prince of the kingdom of
Persia is an interesting character.
The Hebrew word rendered "prince" is "sar",
which means a leader, commander, chief, as of troops. So far
as the word is concerned in the phrase "prince of the kingdom of
Persia," it might refer to a prince ruling over that kingdom, or
to a prime minister of the state; but the language also is such that
it is applicable to an angelic being supposed to preside over a
state, or to influence its workings. I believe this to be the
proper meaning here as deduced from the words because:
1) A spiritual being is speaking to Daniel and it would seem most
natural to suppose that he had encountered one of his own kind.
2) The mention of Michael who came to his aid denotes a well known
angel and leads us to the same conclusion.
3) The prevailing belief among the scholars is that the "prince
of the kingdom of Persia" is a reference to a spiritual being.
When we take into view all the circumstances referred to in this
passage, it seems logical that we are dealing with a spiritual
being, having some kind of jurisdiction over the kingdom of Persia.
The character of this "prince of the kingdom of Persia" is
obviously bad in that we see he withstood and resisted the will of
the heavenly messenger who was speaking to Daniel. So much so
that Michael, an archangel (Jude 9) was sent to assist and this
resistance continued until Daniel's heavenly messenger took leave of
the affair leaving Michael behind in charge. It is my
conviction that the "prince of the kingdom of Persia" in this
vision is referring to a member of the class of fallen angels who
sinned and were cast out of heaven (2 Peter 2:4).
If this is true then one must ask what
their role is in God's overall plan and what purpose they fulfill.
Let's speculate for a little bit here but first, let's look at some
1) Scripture makes the implicit
statement that God tempts no man, "Let no man say when he is
tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil,
neither tempteth he any man" (James 1:13). We are
surrounded by temptation and since temptation cannot come from God,
then it must come from another source. This source of
temptation must operate independently of God and in opposition of
His divine nature in order to be totally separated from Him.
So then what is the active agent of this temptation? From where does
it arise and from where does it come from? Since God is not
responsible for it, then who is?
2) 1 Peter 5:8, "...your
adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom
he may devour". Our adversary is malicious and tries to
tempt us, causing us to sin so that we will be overcome and
3) 1 Corinthians 10:13, "There
hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God
is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are
able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that
ye may be able to bear it." The temptation which is
inflicted upon us is common to everyone, meaning it is universally
applied, and it is limited to what each person can withstand.
Nobody is allowed to be tempted beyond what they are able to bear.
4) Romans 8:38-39, "For I am
persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor
principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to
separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord".
Nothing can force us away from God. Only by a free will act of
our own will we sin.
5) Matthew 25:41, "...Depart
from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the
devil and his angels". The Devil, who we know as Satan has
6) 2 Peter 2:4, "For if God
spared not the angels that sinned , but cast them down to hell, and
delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment".
There were certain angels who sinned and were cast from the presence
of God. The text says they were delivered to the Hadean realm
and placed in chains of darkness.
We know that God cannot tempt man,
therefore he cannot be held responsible for the temptations which
are common to all mankind. Therefore there must be an agent
operating independently of God in order to bring about that
temptation. We also know that this temptation is regulated.
Since temptation is regulated then there must be some sort of
regulating agent in place which does operate in accordance with the
One of the great Bible truths is that of
man's free will choice. God granted mankind the freedom to
choose in the garden of Eden and has never rescinded that freedom.
God neither forces people to come to Him, neither does he allow
mankind to be forced to sin against Him. In Daniel 10:13 we
are given a brief glimpse into how the temptation and the regulation
of that temptation may be accomplished in the spirit realm outside
our perception. In speculation, there may be hosts of angels
in conflict outside our perception, the evil spirits doing the will
of Satan and trying to bring about our destruction with the Angels
of God working to regulate their influence so that our freewill is
not compromised in either direction.
I would call our attention to the
occasions when Jesus encountered both Satan and evil spirits during
His life on earth. Jesus was a man subject to the same
physical limitations we are. Either Satan or the evil spirits
could have destroyed Him at any time but they didn't. Satan
tempted Jesus but did not physically attack Him. An entire
legion of evil spirits obeyed Jesus without doing him any harm
whatsoever. Jesus even gave the power to cast devils out of
others to his disciples in Mark 3:15, Luke 9:1 and other occasions.
One must ask why the evil spirits did not harm Jesus and by what
means was he protected from them and by what means did the disciples
have any power whatsoever over the evil spirits?
We know from the New Testament that
angels played a role in the following events:
1) They bear away the souls of the
departed in death (Luke 16:22).
2) They exercise diligence to watch over little children (Matthew
3) Angels are engaged in the service of those who shall inherit
salvation (Hebrews 1:14).
4) They aided providentially in bringing the Ethiopian Eunuch in
contact with the gospel (Acts 8:26).
5) They executed the sentence of God in the destruction of Herod
whose transgression justified his immediate removal from the earth
Hereby we know that the good angels are working God's will behind
the scenes. Why cannot the evil angels be working behind the
scenes in a restricted manner to work toward the grand plan God has
for the unfolding of his purpose upon the earth? I say
restricted because if they were allowed free reign to impact mankind
without restrictions of any kind, we would doubtless be enduring
sufferings that would pale the trials of Job into insignificance.
Satan plays a redemptive role through
the destruction of the flesh (1 Corinthians 5:5). It is quite
certain that Satan's goal in this is not to redeem the lost soul,
rather to destroy him. But Satan is a unwilling participant in
this process and without a doubt works within the boundaries of some
sort of restrictions lest the unfortunate soul perish instantly with
no opportunity to repent whatsoever.
As I mentioned earlier, this is entirely
speculation on my part and must not be taught as the absolute truth.
However, given the evidence, there is sufficient reason to draw the
conclusion that there is a spiritual warfare being fought on a
continual basis between the forces of darkness and the forces of
light. This warfare is being fought outside of our ability to
perceive it. The whole affair is being conducted in order to
bring about the completion of God's grand plan for mankind.
The temptation of man serves God's purpose in that it is used as a
test of our faithfulness. Where there is no temptation, there
is no test of faith. If mankind knew of this warfare and could
perceive it, then the choice to come to God of our own freewill and
because we want to would be compromised. If we could see the
warfare going on between good and evil, nobody would be unbelievers.
Where there is no free will, there is no choice. We must come
to God because we love Him and are seeking Him and His
righteousness. It is God's purpose that we truly and entirely
come to Him based on our own desire and choice to do so. It makes no difference
that God already knows whether or not we will be obedient or not.
What does make a difference is that nobody who is lost will be able
to say they didn't have a choice. And no accountable person
who is saved will be in heaven if they don't want to be there.
"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."
Daniel was grief stricken over the
halting of the work on the city of Jerusalem and God's temple.
He was hoping it would be completed in haste and was severely
depressed and mourning because it was not being done.
Doubtless Daniel was hoping it would be completed in his lifetime
and he was an aged man. Time for him was short and Daniel
probably wanted to see the temple and the city finished.
The latter days that this visitor is
going to help Daniel understand is the latter days of the Jewish
people. Notice the words "thy people" which indicate that this
vision is meant for the Israelites of the captivity and no others. None of this vision pertains to anything beyond the
Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD which marked the end of the Jewish
commonwealth of God.
"for yet the vision is for many days"
The heavenly visitor here tells Daniel
that the vision is going to cover a long span of time. Daniel
had been hoping and praying for the completion of the temple in his
lifetime and this news must have been distressing for him.
"And when he had spoken such
words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb."
At this time, Daniel probably realizes
that he is never going to see the temple rebuilt in his lifetime.
What a disappointment this must have been for Daniel as evidenced by
his reaction. He bowed his face to the ground and was rendered
unable to speak. As we see in the next verse, he lost his
strength and in V17 he said he lost his breath. Daniel would
never get to offer his worship to God in the temple again.
Daniel would never live to see the walls of Jerusalem rebuilt.
Daniel would never get to see his countrymen offer sacrifice again.
Seventy years in captivity, faithful to God in the face of extreme
opposition, and he realized and understood at this moment that he
was never going to see the temple again and his reaction plainly
demonstrated his distress over this news.
"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
This is not the first time a prophet of
God was unable to speak in the presence of deity, if indeed Daniel's
heavenly visitor was an epiphany of Jesus Christ. Isaiah had
just such an experience. Isaiah 6:5-7, "Then said I, Woe is
me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips , and I
dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have
seen the King, the LORD of hosts. Then flew one of the
seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had
taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon
my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine
iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged."
Notice that a heavenly being placed a
live coal on Isaiah's lips before he spoke. When Isaiah
realized he was standing in the presence of deity he knew he was a
sinful man and that he was unfit to stand in the presence of God and
speak in his current state. Up to this point, Daniel was yet
to say anything to his heavenly visitor. In fact Daniel was
rendered unable to speak as recorded in verse 15. Whether this
was because he was in distress over the news he had just received,
or because he was not permitted to speak until he had been touched
on the mouth by another heavenly visitor, we will have to leave to
conjecture. In either event, Daniel's reaction was one of
profound reverence and shock.
"O my lord, by the vision my sorrows
are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength."
Daniel calls his heavenly visitor "my
Lord", and the heavenly visitor accepted this title without
rebuke. This is further evidence in support of this visitor
being an epiphany of Jesus Christ.
This is the first time Daniel speaks to
his heavenly visitor and he informs him that because of the vision,
his sorrows have overwhelmed him to the point that he has lost his
strength. Daniel took the news that the temple and the city of
Jerusalem would not be rebuilt for a long time very hard. It
left him in a state of shock and dismay so profound that had no
physical strength left. Daniel had already fainted once with
his face on the ground and had to be revived and set up on his
knees. He was doubtless still reeling from the shock of that.
Daniel may have been experiencing a wondrous visitation from a
heavenly being, but up to this point, the visit has been anything
but pleasant and certainly not what Daniel had hoped for.
"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."
This is a similar reaction that Isaiah
had when he came face to face with his heavenly visitor in Isaiah
6:5-7. Isaiah was concerned that he, a man of unclean lips had
seen the Lord. Daniel was concerned that he who was a servant
of this heavenly visitor could not speak with him, either due to his
physical weakness or due to the fact that he was standing in the
presence of a manifestation of the Lord of Lords. One again,
Daniel referred to this visitor as "my Lord" and referred to himself
as his servant and the heavenly visitor again accepted this
affirmation from Daniel without a word of correction. It is
exceedingly important for us to keep in mind that mankind is not,
nor ever was the servants of angels.
Daniel goes on to explain that he has no
strength nor breath to talk. Poor Daniel was reduced to a
pitiable state by this time. The shock of having such a visit
from the heavenly realm and the news he received was overwhelming to
the point that he was unable to continue without assistance.
Daniel was teetering on the verge of collapse.
"Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of
a man, and he strengthened me"
Once again a heavenly being touched
Daniel, but this time it was for the purpose of imparting strength
to him as he had reached his physical and emotional limit.
"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."
Daniel was in dire need of reassurance
at this point. I cannot think of words which would be of more
comfort than to be informed that one is greatly loved when faced
with the emotional and physical strains that Daniel was enduring at
this time. Indeed, when our own children are greatly troubled
and in extreme distress, assuring them that we love them is by far
the best way to comfort them. Just knowing that makes it so
much easier for our earthly children to cope with the various things
that brings anxiety to them. And this is how the heavenly
visitors first reassured Daniel on this occasion.
Then Daniel was told not to be afraid. This is another
thing we as parents tell our children when they are in distress.
We first assure them they are loved and then we tell them not to be
"peace be unto thee"
Then Daniel was told to be at peace. Those who are in
rebellion to God are not at peace with Him. Daniel was here
told the third thing that would indicate that he was loved and in
favor and that he had nothing to be afraid of. The earthly
equivalent of those words to our children today would be "you are
not in trouble".
"be strong, yea, be strong"
All the things we would say to comfort our children under
extreme emotional and physical circumstances are here. All the
things said to Daniel to strengthen, reassure and comfort him were
things a loving parent would say to a distressed child. The
tender love and affection of God towards Daniel is apparent right
here in these few words. These are words that I would sure
want to hear if I were the object of a divine visit such as Daniel
was. It is apparent from the text that the angel imparted
strength to the failing prophet in some manner outside our
understanding, but the words said to Daniel were just as effective
and doubtless reassured him and comforted him to a degree that, with
the help of the angel's touch, he was able to summon what strength
he had left and devote his attention to the information he was about
to receive. This vision is a lengthy one and covers several
centuries of time in amazing detail. Daniel was going to need
his strength to take in all of what was about to be revealed to him.
"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
This is a difficult translation here to
understand. The New King James Version renders it thus:
"Then he said, "Do you know why I have come to you? And now I
must return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I have gone
forth, indeed the prince of Greece will come."
Daniel's heavenly visitor asks him a question here. He already
told Daniel why he was there as recorded in verses 12 and 14.
He came because Daniel requested it, and to help Daniel understand
what would befall his people in the latter days. Evidently
Daniel's heavenly visitor is making sure Daniel understands what is
happening to him and what the purpose of this vision is.
This heavenly visitor's presence is
required back to the conflict from which he left in order to make
this visit to Daniel. Obviously this prince of Persia is a
force standing against the forces of light in that a conflict with
the heavenly visitor is mentioned. Whether this prince of
Persia is a flesh and blood prince or an evil spiritual force
dedicated to the furtherance of all opposition against the people of
God, we can only speculate. If this prince of Persia is a
malignant spiritual force, then so is the prince of Greece. So
we have two separate forces of evil in opposition to the forces of
Obviously when this heavenly visitor
returns, the prince of Persia is going to be put down and then the
prince of Greece will arise and join in the conflict. I am
persuaded that these princes are evil spiritual beings simply for
the fact that if they were physical, it wouldn't be much of a fight.
The text seems to suggest quite the extended struggle with
difficulties associated with it. This fact is also significant
and compelling evidence against this heavenly visitor being an
epiphany of Jesus Christ. I have got to believe that if Jesus
Christ Himself were heading up this spiritual confrontation, we
would not see the evidence we see here of the difficulties
associated with the conflict. This fact alone is what prevents
me from affirming without reservation that this heavenly visitor was
indeed an incarnation of Jesus Christ Himself.
"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."
The scripture of
truth is not talking about the written scriptures we call the Bible
today. If it were, there would be no reason for this heavenly
visitor to reveal anything to Daniel because Daniel, who was a
dedicated student of scripture, would already have know it.
What this is doubtless talking about here is that the events which
are to transpire are being conducted according to a master plan
which is being carried out to exacting specifications for the
purpose of bringing about God's intended outcome for the Israelite
nation. The expression "noted in the scripture of
truth" is the equivalent of someone saying today that it was
"etched in stone".
"and there is none that holdeth with
me in these things, but Michael your prince."
visitor and Michael are the only ones standing in opposition to the
spiritual princes of Persia and of Greece. We learn here what
Michael's role is in this great warfare. When this heavenly
visitor identified Michael as "your prince", he identified
him as the spiritual prince standing on the side of the Israelite
nation. Michael is further identified in chapter 12, verse 2
as "the great prince which standeth for the children of thy
people". So we have in this conflict Daniel's heavenly visitor
whomever he may be and Michael, the prince over the Israelites,
working against the evil spiritual forces placed in charge of the
affairs of Persia and of Greece.
visitor and Michael are without a doubt spiritual beings working for
the furtherance of the plan of God. The context almost demands
that the prince of Persia and of Greece are likewise spiritual
beings in opposition to the workings of God. The diligent
student of scripture cannot help but draw the conclusion that there
is indeed a spiritual warfare being waged outside of our perception.
No doubt this warfare had been going on since the fall of Satan and
of his angels and is being carried out even today and will continue
to be carried out till God's work on earth is finished. This
chapter of Daniel gives us a rare and unique glimpse into the
workings of God behind the scenes and is an intriguing subject to
consider indeed. As stated in the opening of this study, there
is an absolute truth to all of this and we will no doubt have to
wait until the revelation of all things after the passing of earth
to know it, but in the meantime, all we really have is a very good
hypothesis which is supported by a body of evidence assembled from
other scripture, but in the end, it is only speculation. Let
us treat it with wisdom and resist making it into things which
clearly go beyond what is provable in scripture and teaching these
things as truth absolute.
In the next
chapter, Daniel is taken through an apocalyptic whirlwind account of
what to us is now history. The historical accuracy of this
vision is remarkable and compelling to say the least. It
covers a period of time beginning with Darius the Mede in chapter
11, verse 1 and concludes with the destruction of Jerusalem in the
end of chapter 12. This period of time included the "threescore
and two weeks" of Daniel's vision of the seventy weeks and
roughly half of the confirmation week which was the seventieth week
of the same vision. The destruction of Jerusalem and of the
temple in 70 AD marked the end of Israel as a nation and as the
commonwealth of God. Henceforth all the people of all the
nations over the whole earth were given the opportunity to be the
children of God.