Daniel - 10:1-21

The Angelic Conflict

      1 In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed to Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, even a great warfare: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision. 2 In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three whole weeks. 3 I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine into my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, until three whole weeks were fulfilled. 4 In the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel, 5 I lifted up my eyes, and looked, and behold, a man clothed in linen, whose thighs were adorned with pure gold of Uphaz: 6 his body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as flaming torches, and his arms and his feet like burnished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude. 7 I, Daniel, alone saw the vision; for the men who were with me didn't see the vision; but a great quaking fell on them, and they fled to hide themselves. 8 So 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 fallen into a deep sleep on my face, with my face toward the ground. 10 Behold, a hand touched me, which set me on my knees and on the palms of my hands. 11 He said to me, Daniel, you man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright; for am I now sent to you. When he had spoken this word to me, I stood trembling. 12 Then he said to me, Don't be afraid, Daniel; for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard: and I have come for your words' sake. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; but, behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me: and I remained there with the kings of Persia. 14 Now I have come to make you understand what shall happen to your people in the latter days; for the vision is yet for (many) days: 15 and when he had spoken to me according to these words, I set my face toward the ground, and was mute. 16 Behold, one in the likeness of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spoke and said to him who stood before me, my lord, by reason of the vision my sorrows are turned on me, and I retain no strength. 17 For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, immediately there remained no strength in me, neither was there breath left in me. 18 Then there touched me again one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me. 19 He said, "Greatly beloved man, don't be afraid: peace be to you, be strong, yes, be strong." When he spoke to me, I was strengthened, and said, "Let my lord speak; for you have strengthened me." 20 Then he said, "Do you know why I have come to you? Now I will return to fight with the prince of Persia. When I go forth, behold, the prince of Greece shall come. 21 But I will tell you that which is inscribed in the writing of truth: and there is none who holds with me against these, but Michael your prince."

Chapter In-Depth

Explanation and meaning of Daniel 10.

Historical Commentaries

Scholarly Analysis and Interpretation.

Analysis of the Chapter
This chapter introduces the last revelation made to Daniel, and is "merely" introductory to the disclosures made in the two following chapters. The whole extends to the time of the coming of the Messiah, embracing a detail of the principal historical events that would occur, and closes with some fearful allusions to the ultimate results of human conduct in the day of judgment, and to the great principles on which God governs the world. The contents of this introductory chapter are as follows:
(a) The statement of the time when the revelation occurred, Daniel 10:1. This was in the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, subsequently, therefore, to the visions in the previous chapters, and after the order had been given by Cyrus for the restoration of the Jews, Ezra 1:1.
(b) The particular period when this occurred was when Daniel was observing a fast that continued through three weeks, Daniel 10:2-3. This was at the passover, the first month in their ecclesiastical year, and the fast was observed by Daniel, evidently, on account of the sins and the calamities of his people.
(c) The place where this occurred, Daniel 10:4. He was by the side of the river Hiddekel or Tigris. Why he was there he does not say. But it is to be remembered that he seems to have been employed on some occasions in other parts of the empire than Babylon; and one of his former visions occurred on the banks of a river that flowed into the Tigris - the river Ulai. See the notes at Daniel 8:2. Indeed, it would appear that the banks of rivers were not unfrequently the places to which the prophets resorted, or where they were favored with their visions. They were retired places, and were on many accounts favorable for devotion. Compare Ezekiel 1:1; Acts 16:13. See also Revelation 22:1-2.
(d) While there, engaged in his devotions, Daniel saw a man, who suddenly appeared to him, clothed in linen, and girded with a belt of gold. Those who were with him fled astonished, and left him alone to contemplate the vision, and to receive the communication which this glorious stranger had to make to him. The effect of this vision on himself, however, was wholly to overcome him, to prostrate him to the earth, and to render him insensible, until the angel touched him, and raised him up, Daniel 10:4-10. In all this there is nothing unnatural. The effect is such as would be produced in any case in similar circumstances, and it has a striking resemblance to what occurred to Saul of Tarsus on his way to Damascus (Acts 9:3-4; Acts 22:7-9; and to John in the visions of Patmos, Revelation 1:10-17.)
(e) He who had thus appeared to Daniel proceeded to state to him the design for which he had come, Daniel 10:11-14. The prayer of Daniel, he said, had been heard the first day in which he had given himself to these solemn acts of devotion. He had himself been commissioned at that time to come to Daniel, and to disclose the events which were to occur. During a period of twenty-one days, however, in which Daniel had been engaged in this season of devotion, he had been withstood by "the prince of the kingdom of Persia," and had been detained until Michael, one of the chief princes, had interposed to release him, and he had now come, at last, to make known to Daniel what would occur to his people in the latter days. The nature of this detention will, of course, be considered in the notes at Daniel 10:13.
(f) Daniel then Daniel 10:15-17 describes the effect which this vision had on him, rendering him unable to converse with him who had thus appeared to him.
(g) The heavenly messenger then touched him, and bade him be of good courage and be strong Daniel 10:18-19, and then said that he would return and fight with the prince of Persia, after having stated what was "noted in the Scripture of truth," Daniel 10:20-21.

This and the two following chapters give an account of Daniel's last vision, wherein the succession of the Persian and Grecian monarchies is described, together with the wars that should take place between Syria and Egypt under the latter monarchy. The last part of the vision (from Daniel 11:36) seems to relate chiefly to the persecutions of the Church in the times of Antichrist, till it be purified from all its pollutions; after which will follow that glorious kingdom of the saints spoken of in the seventh and eighth chapters. This chapter begins with an account of Daniel's fasting and humiliation, Daniel 10:1-3. Then we have a description of the Divine person who appeared to the prophet, not unlike him who appeared to the apostle in the isle of Patmos, vv. 4-21. See Revelation 1:10-16.

This chapter is an introduction to the prophecies contained in the two following chapters; and begins with an account of Daniel's mourning and fasting, preparatory to the vision he had, Daniel 10:1, and of the appearance of Christ to him, with the time and place of it; who is described by his clothing, and the several parts of his body, which were very glorious, he appearing in a human form, Daniel 10:4, then follows an account of the effects it had upon him, Daniel 10:7, and of what encouragement and strength he received from him, by words and touches, to listen to what he said; and to expect a discovery and an understanding of things of moment and importance, which should be in future times, Daniel 10:10.

(Daniel 10:1-9) Daniel's vision near the river Hiddekel.
(Daniel 10:10-21) He is to expect a discovery of future events.

The Revelation Regarding the Affliction of the People of God on the Part of the Rulers of the World Till the Consummation of the Kingdom of God - Daniel 10-12
In the third year of the reign of Cyrus, Daniel received the last revelation regarding the future of his people, which gives a fuller unfolding of the hostile attitude of the world-power toward the people and the kingdom of God from the time of the Persian dominion to the end of the days, as well as regarding the powerful protection which the covenant people shall experience amid the severe oppressions they would be exposed to for their purification. This revelation connects itself, both as to its contents and form, so closely with Daniel 8, that it is to be viewed as a further unfolding of that prophecy, and serves for the illustration and confirmation of that which was announced to the prophet shortly before the destruction of the Chaldean world-kingdom regarding the world-kingdoms that were to follow, and their relation to the theocracy. It consists of three parts: - (1.) There is the description of the appearance of God as to its nature, the impression it produced on the prophet, and its object (Daniel 10:1-11:2a). (2.) The unveiling of the future, in brief statements regarding the relation of the Persian and the Javanic world-kingdoms to Israel, and in more comprehensive descriptions of the wars of the kings of the north and the south for the supremacy, with the hostilities thence arising against the kingdom of God - hostilities which aim at its destruction, but which, because of the powerful succour which is rendered to Israel by Michael the angel-prince, shall come to an end in the destruction of the enemy of God and the final salvation of the people of God (Daniel 11:2b-12:3). (3.) This revelation concludes with the definition of the duration of the time of oppression, and with the command given to Daniel to seal up the words, together with the prophecy, till the time of the end, and to rest till the end come: "For thou shalt rest and stand in thy lot at the end of the days" (Daniel 12:4-13).
If we attentively examine first of all the form of this revelation, namely, the manifestation of God, by which there is given to Daniel the understanding of the events of the future (Daniel 10:14, cf. Daniel 11 and Daniel 12:1-13), this revelation will be found to be distinguished from all the others in this, that it is communicated partly by supernatural illumination for the interpretation of the dream-vision, partly by visions, partly by the appearance of angels. Auberlen (d. Proph. Daniel p. 91f.) has already referred to this distinction, and therein has found a beautiful and noteworthy progression, namely, that the one revelation always prepares the way, in a material and formal respect, for that which follows, from which we may see how God gradually prepared the prophet for the reception of still more definite disclosures. "First Nebuchadnezzar dreams, and Daniel simply interprets (Daniel 2 and 4); afterwards Daniel himself has a dream, but as yet it is only as a vision in a dream of the night (Daniel 7:1-2); then follows a vision in a waking state (Daniel 8:1-3); and finally, in the last two revelations (Daniel 9 and 10-12), when Daniel, now a feeble, trembling (?) old man (Daniel 10:8.), is already almost transplanted out of this world - now the ecstatic state seems to be no longer necessary for him. Now in his usual state he sees and hears angels speak like men, while his companions do not see the appearances from the higher world, and are only overwhelmed with terror, like those who accompanied Paul to Damascus (Daniel 9:20., Daniel 10:4., cf. Acts of Ap. Acts 9:7)." It is true, indeed, that, as Aub. remarks, there is a progression from interpreting of dreams to the receiving of visions in dreams and in the waking state, but by this reference neither are the actual contents of the revelation given in different forms perfectly comprehended, nor still less is the meaning of the difference made clear. Auberlen, in thus representing the distinction, has left out of view the circumstance, that the visions in Daniel 7 and 8 are also interpreted to Daniel by an angel; moreover, that the revelation in Daniel 8 does not merely consist of a vision, in which Daniel sees the destruction of the Persian world-kingdom by the Javanic under the figure of a he-goat casting down the ram, but that Daniel, after this vision, also hears an angel speak, and a voice comes to him from above the waters of the Ulai which commands the angel Gabriel to explain the vision to the seer (Daniel 8:13.), and that this second part of that revelation has a great likeness to that in Daniel 10-12; finally, that the same angel Gabriel again appears in Daniel 9, and brings to Daniel the revelation regarding the seventy weeks (Daniel 9:24-27). But as to the interpretation of these revelations given in different forms, this difference is conditioned partly by the subjective relations sustained by the recipients to God, while, on the other hand, the form is in the most intimate manner connected with the contents of the revelation, and indeed in a way wholly different and much deeper than Auberlen thinks, if he therein sees only the material progression to greater speciality in the prophecy.
To comprehend the meaning of the divine revelation in Daniel 10-12, we must examine more closely the resemblance which it presents to Daniel 8:13-19. As in the vision Daniel 8, which points to the oppression of the time of the end (Daniel 8:17, Daniel 8:19), Daniel heard a voice from the Ulai (Daniel 8:16), so in Daniel 10 and Daniel 12:1-13 the personage from whom that voice proceeded appears within the circle of Daniel's vision, and announces to him what shall happen to his people הימים בּאחרית (Daniel 10:14). This celestial person appears to him in such awful divine majesty, that he falls to the ground on hearing his voice, as already in Daniel 8:17. on hearing his voice and message, so that he feared he should perish; and it was only by repeated supernatural consolation and strengthening that he was able to stand erect again, and was made capable of hearing the revelation. The heavenly being who appears to him resembles in appearance the glory of Jehovah which Ezekiel had seen by the river Chaboras (Chebar); and this appearance of the man clothed in linen prepared the contents of his revelation, for God so manifested Himself to Daniel (as He will approve Himself to His people in the times of the future great tribulation) as He who in judgment and in righteousness rules the affairs of the world-kingdoms and of the kingdom of God, and conducts them to the issues foreseen; so that the effect of His appearance on Daniel formed a pre-intimation and a pledge of that which would happen to the people of Daniel in the future. As Daniel was thrown to the ground by the divine majesty of the man clothed in linen, but was raised up again by a supernatural hand, so shall the people of God be thrown to the ground by the fearful judgments that shall pass over them, but shall again be raised up by the all-powerful help of their God and His angel-prince Michael, and shall be strengthened to endure the tribulation. According to this, the very appearance of God has prophetic significance; and the reason why this last vision is communicated to Daniel neither by a vision nor by angels, but by a majestic Theophany, does not lie in the more definite disclosures which should be given to him regarding the future, but only in this, that the revelation, as is mentioned in the superscription, Daniel 10:1, places in view the גּדול וצבא אמת (Daniel 10:1).
Of this oppression, that spoken of in Daniel 8, which should come upon the people of God from the fierce and cunning king seen as a little horn, forms a type; therefore Daniel hears the voice from the waters of the Ulai. That which is there briefly indicated, is in Daniel 10-12 further extended and completed. In regard to the definiteness of the prediction, the revelation in Daniel 10-12 does not go beyond that in Daniel 8; but it does so with respect to the detailed description found in it of the wars of the world-rulers against one another and against the people of God, as well as in this, that it opens a glimpse into the spirit-world, and gives disclosures regarding the unseen spiritual powers who mingle in the history of nations. But over these powers God the Lord exercises dominion, and helps His people to obtain a victory over all their enemies. To reveal this, and in actual fact to attest it to the prophet, and through him to the church of God of all times, is the object of the Theophany, which is circumstantially described in Daniel 10 for the sake of its prophetical character.

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