Chapter ten of the Book of Daniel is the introduction to his last recorded revelation and is the first of three parts of a vision-a vision some scholars say is the greatest of all the revelations of Daniel. This chapter gives us information on something decidedly different from anything we’ve read as we are introduced to a special group of angels- some who harbor ill-will toward God and attempt to defeat the divine purpose as it relates to God’s rule over His people, Israel, both in the present (in Daniel’s time) and in the days yet to come (at the time of the end).
Chapter ten is graphic in that it also provides detailed information on how Daniel received his final revelation, including many surprising incidents that accompany God’s delivery of this message to Daniel.
1 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. 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.
Daniel’s State of Mind
This last revelation received by Daniel came to him just two years after King Cyrus had officially brought the Babylonian captivity to an end by allowing the Jews to return to Israel. However, the Jews returned home without Daniel. We don’t know precisely why Daniel remained behind, but we can surmise it was either because of his advancing years-now in his mid- to upper-eighties-or because he still may have had essential work to do for the Persian leadership-perhaps as a senior advisor. Therefore his presence was vital. He also may have felt that to remain behind would permit him to use his enormous influence for good as his people, the Jews, made the difficult transition to return to a land that many had never seen-or that was a fading memory.
Daniel Understands the Vision
The revelation Daniel was about to receive was hard for him to hear and more difficult for him to accept, although he knew in his heart that it was true. Daniel’s vision revealed an enormous conflict that would afflict his people at a later time. This would be the greatest war the world’s powers had ever encountered, a future conflict that would include something unheard of before: a massive angelic invasion that, while unseen, would be instrumental in shaping the final result of international events.
The most difficult part of the message for Daniel to accept was that this future trauma would threaten the very existence of Israel-a nation and people who had already suffered so much, been so long in captivity, and seemed to be on a perpetual losing streak that would play out to the time of the end. Unlike Daniel’s earlier visions and dreams, he declared that he understood this one, and that he also comprehended how the events predicted would not occur during his own lifetime.
Daniel, however, took little comfort in this knowledge, because his heart was so tender toward the ultimate destiny of his people.
Daniel understood that during the “seventy weeks” to come the Jews would suffer great persecution (Daniel 12:1) as the forces of Egypt, leading an Arab federation (Daniel 11:40), and a king from the North, Russia, plus kings from the East, China, and other Oriental nations (Daniel 11:44), would move in upon Israel for the bloodiest confrontation in history. Daniel knew this would take place during the seventieth week-a time period of seven years known as the “latter days” (Daniel 10:14), and referred to as “the time of the end” (Daniel 11:40; 12:4).
While Daniel could not know the specifics of this terrible era of suffering yet to come, he had enough understanding to know that it would be a horrible period of history for the people of Israel. That’s why this saintly prophet-loved by God-is so moved that he mourns at the thought of what is going to happen to his people. He knew the time of the end would be a period of unprecedented judgment on the Jews as the nations of the world would move against his people, and particularly against Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:2).
When Daniel received the first part of this final revelation, he had been fasting for twenty-one days. Daniel was so focused on remaining humble before God that he kept himself in a constant state of alert so he would be ready to hear the word of the Lord. It’s quite possible that Daniel was still grieving-and therefore fasting-because of the inner turmoil he felt after the unsettling vision in chapter eight, wondering why his people would continue to suffer after the close of the seventy years of captivity.
Had the Jews not suffered enough?
And had God not made a promise to relieve them of their pain at the close of the seventy years of captivity? What we now see in Daniel is a progressive understanding of what was to happen in the days to come. We also see a kind, gentle old man whose sensitivity to the things of God-and to the plight of his people-remained acute:
Daniel remained God’s man to the very end.
Daniel 10:4 – 9
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; 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. 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. 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. 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.
Daniel Sees the Pre-Incarnate Christ
One day Daniel, either on a leisurely stroll or on business for the government, was standing by the Hiddekel (or Tigris) River. There he was confronted by a likeness he had never observed before. The Bible describes this figure as dressed in linen with a waist girded with a belt of pure gold, a body like beryl, a face with the appearance like that of lightning, eyes like flaming torches, arms and feet of polished brass, and the sound of his voice like the sound of a tumult. Is there any doubt in our minds that such a being would capture Daniel’s attention!
The question, however, must be asked: Who was this heavenly being? Why was he there?
We don’t need to search long for our answer because the description of this being bears a direct correspondence to the glorified Christ we read about in Revelation 1:13-15:
“And in the midst of the seven candlesticks 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 waters“
An almost exact description of what Daniel saw that day by the shores of the great Tigris River. Like the appearance of a fourth person in the fiery furnace, this was a Christophany-a physical appearance of the person of Jesus Christ.
Christ-the Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever
Isn’t it amazing-this text states that God had a son hundreds of years before Christ’s birth at Bethlehem. We must conclude, then, that the heavenly being standing before Daniel is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.
Daniel was not alone when he was confronted by the person of Jesus Christ. There were companions with him-but not for long. While they apparently sensed that something momentous was taking place, they were unable to withstand the dread of the moment, similar to Saul’s experience on the Damascus turnpike (Acts 9:7). They, too, could do nothing but hide their faces from the glory of Christ and flee, leaving Daniel alone in his encounter with Christ.
Suddenly Daniel-man among men, strong, lion-tamer, and counselor to the kings of Babylon, fell to the ground when he heard the words of the Lord. Immediately His strength was sapped, His knees buckled, and he fell into a deep sleep when the sound of thunderous, divine words-like the sound of many rushing waters-assaulted his human ears.
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE