DANIEL CHAPTER 10.
Daniel’s Last Great Vision.
THE BEGINNING OF THE VISION. — V. 1. In the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia, two years after his decree concerning the restoration of Jerusalem and the Temple had gone forth, a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar, both his names being given here, one as a member of the people of God, the other as an official of the Persian court, who could render his nation a better service by remaining at court than by joining them in the restoration of their city, especially since he was now of advanced age; and the thing, the word of God revealed to the prophet in this vision, was true, but the time appointed was long, literally, “and great tribulation,” that is, the revelation was concerned with misery, wretchedness, and trouble on earth; and he understood the thing and had understanding of the vision, he observed the word which the Lord made known to him and gave close attention to the vision. V. 2. In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks, very likely on account of the conditions in the land of his fathers, where the small handful of Jews were trying, under peculiar difficulties, to rebuild the Temple and restore the city, a fact which caused Daniel, at the beginning of a new year, to give himself to fasting and prayer. V. 3. I ate no pleasant bread, partaking only of the unleavened bread of affliction, Deut. 16, 3, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, thus discarding all food otherwise used on festival days, neither did I anoint myself at all, he abstained from all expressions of joy and happiness, till three whole weeks were fulfilled. Daniel thus observed a complete fast, with all the expressions of sorrow and mourning assumed by men at such a time. V. 4. And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, of the month Nisan, apparently at the end of his fast, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel, the Tigris River, v. 5. then I lifted up mine eyes and looked, as in the vision on the banks of the Eulaeus, chap. 8, 3, and behold a certain Man clothed in linen, the color symbolizing holiness, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz, the gold indicating His princely rank. V. 6. His body also was like the beryl, or chrysolite, so that it shone with the golden luster of topaz or amber, and His face as the appearance of lightning, blindingly bright, and His eyes as lamps of fire, cp. Rev. 1, 14, and His arms and His feet like in color to polished brass, gleaming like glowing brass, and the voice of His words like the voice of a multitude, the voice of roaring like that of the ocean or of a great concourse of people. V. 7. And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, so that all its details were clear to him; for the men that were with me saw not the vision, as was the case also with the companions of Saul on the way to Damascus, Acts 9, 7; 22, 11; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves, literally, “they fled by hiding themselves,” an expression showing the greatness of their fear. V. 8. Therefore I was left alone and saw this great vision, cp. Ex. 3,3, and there remained no strength in me, on account of the overwhelming terror of the vision; for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, literally, “the healthy appearance of my face changed to me for disfigurement,” and I retained no strength, It is evident from the entire description that Daniel here had a vision of the Angel of the Presence, the Angel of the Countenance, the Messiah Himself, as He revealed Himself to the believers of the Old Testament. Cp. Rev. 1, 13-15. V. 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.
THE FIRST PART OF THE ANGEL’S MESSAGE. — V. 10. And, behold, an hand touched me, the stunned prophet not being able to say whose hand it was, although the text indicates that it was that same Angel in white, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands, gently shaking him into a half waking state, so that he assumed at least a crouching position, although his stupor was not yet entirely gone. V. 11. And He said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, cp. chap. 9, 23, understand the words that I speak unto thee, marking them very closely, and stand upright, shaking off the last effects of the numbness besetting him; for unto thee am I now sent, as the bearer of a message of comfort and blessing. And when He had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling, still in fearful expectation of the matters which would be revealed to him. V. 12. Then said He unto me, Fear not, Daniel; for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, applying himself most earnestly to the solution of the problems, and to chasten thyself before thy God, in the proper humiliation of mind, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words, in consequence of the prayer which had come to the attention of God. The Lord always hears all prayers of those who believe in Him, though He may sometimes delay His answer or give it in a manner different from that which His children expect. V. 13. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia, the angel of darkness representing the Persian world power in its idols and therefore identical with some evil spirit, withstood Me one and twenty days, trying to hinder the Angel of the Presence in carrying out His mission of comfort; but, lo, Michael one of the chief princes, the first in rank in possessing the strength of the Almighty, came to help Me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia, using His influence in the interest of the Lord’s people. There is a world of angels and spirits, and these spirits often have a very decided influence upon the happenings of history. V. 14. Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days, during the Messianic era; for yet the vision is for many days, it extends far into the future. V. 15. And when He had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, in awe and consternation over the revelations to be expected, and I became dumb, remaining speechless for the time being. V. 16. And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men, an angel having the appearance of a human being, probably again the Angel of the Lord in the special sense of the word, touched my lips, to heal his dumbness. Then I opened my mouth and spake and said unto Him that stood before me, O my Lord, by the vision, as a result of his seeing the vision, my sorrows are turned upon me, with acute and overwhelming power, and I have retained no strength. V. 17. For how can the servant of this my Lord talk with this my Lord? whose majesty was of a nature to terrify a poor, sinful mortal. For as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me, he could neither stand nor breathe properly for agitation and consternation. V. 18. Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me, v. 19. and said, O man greatly beloved, fear not, for his terror was the real cause of his weakness. Peace be unto thee; be strong, yea, be strong! the repetition of the comforting words serving to give emphasis to them. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened and said, Let my lord speak, he now felt able to hear and receive the message; for thou hast strengthened me. V. 20. Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? The serious and highly important character of the message must be borne in mind by the prophet. And now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia, in order to hinder him from performing his evil designs against the children of God; and when I am gone forth; prepared to wage war, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come, another hostile spirit, representing Greece, destined to be the next world-power. V. 21. But I will show thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth, in the sacred document of God’s divine decrees; and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, standing fully on his side, but Michael, your prince, the particular champion of the people of God. The prince of this world, with all his hosts of evil spirits, is continually engaged in attempts to break and hinder the gracious and good will of the Lord over against His children; but the Lord is more powerful than all His enemies and keeps those who believe in Him from all harm and danger. Chap. 11, 1. Also I, in the first year of Darius, the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him, or, “even as I stood by to strengthen him,” the inference being that the various angelic spirits come to the support of one another when special efforts in behalf of the people or nations in their care are required. The gist of the verse is evidently this, that Michael had been active in overthrowing the power of Babylonia by the armies of Medo-Persia, and that the Angel of the Lord had given him mighty assistance in this labor. In the great crises of history, in the change of monarchies, and in the midst of every tribulation we may rely upon the faithfulness and mercy of our God.