In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and it concerned a great war. The understanding of the message came to him in a vision. Daniel 10:1
This chapter relates the beginning of Daniel’s last vision, which is continued to the end of the book. This revelation took place in third year of Cyrus. Two years had passed since Gabriel revealed to Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks. The first group of exiles had returned to Jerusalem but Daniel and many others remained in Babylon. Seventy years later, Daniel is still remembered by the name Belteshazzar which was given to him by Nebuchadnezzar’s chief official. This chapter reveals the fact that, behind the scenes of world events and political changes we behold on an earthly level, an unseen spiritual war of cosmic proportions is being waged.
At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over. On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, Daniel 10:2-4
A good portion of the time of Daniel’s fast from meat and wine took place during the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Anointing with oil was a sign of rejoicing; therefore Daniel used no lotions for 21 days because he was in mourning.
Daniel was standing on the bank of the Tigris River which was located thirty-five miles from Babylon.
I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude. Daniel 10:5-6
The description of this glorious man is in many ways resembles the description of the Lord found in Ezekiel 1:26-28 and in Revelation 1:12-16:
Above the vault over their heads was what looked like a throne of lapis lazuli, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him.
This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking. Ezekiel 1:26-28
I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. Revelation 1:12-16
Even Daniel’s description of the thunderous voice of the man who spoke to him indicates that this man was no mere angel.
Do you have an arm like God’s, and can your voice thunder like his? Job 40:9
…and behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the way of the east. And His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory. Ezekiel 43:2
Both the physical appearance and the voice of Daniel’s visitor fit the description of a divine being.
I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; those who were with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground. Daniel 10:7-9
Those who were with Daniel did not see the vision of the glorious man but neither did Paul’s companions who were traveling with him on the road to Damascus see the Lord who appeared to Paul.
The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Acts 9:7
Paul’s companions neither saw the Lord nor could understand His voice.
Who are You, Lord?’ I asked. ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ He replied. My companions saw the light, but they could not understand the voice of the One speaking to me. Acts 22:9
This man who appeared to Daniel was no mere messenger but the Son of God. This supernatural revelation and glorious vision of the second person of the holy trinity sapped Daniel of his strength and Daniel fell into a deep sleep while he listened to Him.
The Son of God not only appeared to Daniel in the form of a glorious man but several times in the Old Testament the Messiah materialized as the angel of the LORD.
The pre-incarnate Christ came to Hagar after she has fled from the abusive Sarai (Genesis 16:7-14) to assure her that God has heard about her misery and that her descendants would be too numerous to count. Hagar names him “You are the God who sees me” (v. 13). The angel of the LORD pronounces a curse on the people of Meroz, because they refused to come to the help of the LORD (Judges 5:23).
The angel of the LORD executes judgment on behalf of the LORD. He puts to death 185, 000 Assyrian soldiers in their camp, thereby saving Jerusalem from decimation (2 Kings 19:35).
The angel of the LORD commissioned Moses to confront Pharaoh (Exodus 3:5). The angel of the LORD appears to Abraham. He stops Abraham from sacrificing Isaac and commends him because he has not withheld his only son from God (Genesis 22:11-18). Abraham identifies the angel as God, calling the place ‘The LORD Will Provide.”
Manoah meets the angel of the LORD, and declares that he has seen God. The angel accepts worship from Manoah and his wife as no mere angel, and refers to himself as “Wonderful” the same term applied to the coming deliverer in Isaiah 9:6 (Judges 13:9-22). The functions of the angel of the LORD in the Old Testament prefigure the reconciling ministry of Jesus. In the New Testament, there is no mention of the angel of the LORD. The Messiah himself is this person.
Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” He said, “No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?” The captain of the LORD’S host said to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so… Joshua 5:13-15
The pre-incarnate Messiah Jesus appearing as the “Captain of the LORD’s hosts” commands Joshua to remove his sandals as He did to Moses at the burning bush. He appeared as the fourth person in Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace and to Daniel after his three weeks of fasting.
A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling. Daniel 10:10-11
Some have confused this glorious being with a mere angel because angels are messengers that are sent by the LORD. But there are several instances in the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments where the Son of God was sent by the Father.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, Isaiah 61:1
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:17
Daniel trembled in the presence of this glorious Christophany. Righteous Daniel is one of very few biblical personalities who were highly esteemed by the LORD.
Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. Daniel 10:12
Daniel is a wonderful example of the power of the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man. He humbled himself before God. Daniel, who did not return to his homeland, was anxious to learn the fate of his fellow Jews. The Father heard his words since the first day of his fast and sent His Son in response to his supplications.
Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. Isaiah 65:24
God did not have to hear all of Daniel’s three weeks of prayer to respond.
But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Daniel 10:13
Daniel the prophet was praying about the future of his people who remained as exiles in Persia. The reason for the three week delay was due to an evil spiritual entity that wielded authority over the ancient kingdom of Persia. The prince of Persia is a fallen angel who in some sense had authority or influence over the physical kingdom of Persia.
How could an evil spiritual entity resist the all-powerful Son of God? God has allowed Satan to be the god of this world and the prince of the power of the air for thousands of years. The satanic authority over the kingdoms of sinful men does not compromise the omnipotence of God.
Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour–when darkness reigns.” Luke 22:53
God allows darkness to reign for periods of time to accomplish His sovereign divine purposes.
How could a mere mortal resist the omnipotent pre-incarnate Jesus?
So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” Genesis 32:24-26
Wrestling is one of the most physically demanding activities that there is. Wrestling is personal, physically exhausting, and emotionally taxing. Although Jacob was 97 years old, he wrestled through the night. Even when he suffered excruciating pain from having his hip dislocated, he refused to let go of his opponent. With the coming of daylight, Jacob and this mysterious man might be seen by others. Since this significant encounter was to be highly personal, the man said that it was time for Jacob to let go.
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” Genesis 32:27
Jacob understood that the man he wrestled with was no ordinary man. The hip is the body’s largest ball-and-socket joint. Surrounding the hip joint are many tough ligaments that prevent the dislocation of the joint. The strong muscles of the hip region also help to hold the hip joint together and prevent dislocation. This man just touched the socket of Jacob’s hip and it was wrenched out of place. This man was not only supernaturally powerful but Jacob understood that the man also had the spiritual authority to bless him.
The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.” Genesis 32:27-28
If the angel of the LORD, the pre-incarnate son of God was resisted through the night by a mere man to accomplish His divine purposes, it is reasonable that the heavenly messenger that came to Daniel could have be resisted by a demonic entity to fulfill the sovereign plans of an omnipotent God.
Did the Son of God need the protector of Israel, the Archangel Michael’s help to accomplish His purposes?
After Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan, Matthew 4:11 declares, “Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.” After Jesus prays to His Father on the Mount of Olives, “An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him” (Luke 22:43)
Just as God does not need men to accomplish His purposes but chooses to do so, He also chooses to allow angels to participate in His divine plans.
Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.” Daniel 10:14
In the first verse of chapter 10 of Daniel we are told that the message he was to receive through his vision concerned a great war. Now, it is made clear that this future conflict will entail the Jews. The major events that will mark the entire future history of Israel culminating in the climax of the “Second Coming of Messiah” and the establishment of His earthly Kingdom will be the subject of the rest of the Book of Daniel.
While he was saying this to me, I bowed with my face toward the ground and was speechless. Then one who looked like a man touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing before me, “I am overcome with anguish because of the vision, my lord, and I feel very weak. How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe.” Daniel 10:15-17
The devastating effect of the Christophany upon the aged Daniel was similar to what the aged Apostle John would experience on the Isle of Patmos.
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.” Revelation 1:17
Daniel was overcome by both the glory of the pre-incarnate Messiah as well as having been grieved by his vision of the future calamities that his people would have to endure through.
Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. “Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,” he said. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.”
When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.” Daniel 10:18-19
Daniel would not have addressed an angel as my Adonai (Lord). The touch of the Lord and His divine words restored Daniel to strength
So he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth.(No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince. Daniel 10:20-21
Daniel is told that “the Book of Truth” contains the future events of the ages to come. Daniel needed to understand that the incredible predictions concerning Israel were ordained by sovereign decree and certain to be fulfilled.
Although the initial victory had been won over the demon Prince of Persia, the divine/demonic struggle would continue throughout the two hundred years of Medo-Persian rule to the time of Alexander the Great, when the demon prince of Greece would be confronted on behalf of Israel.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12
Although there are wars fought on earth with natural weapons against human armies, the struggle is a spiritual one. For ungodly human rulers who direct military forces are under the demonic influence of the god of this world.