Daniel 10 begins a message and vision that continues through the end of the book(12:12) The first verse sets the stage for us.
The first verse gives us several facts about this revelation given to Daniel. First, it gives us the date. It was during the 3rd year of the reign of Cyrus as King of Persia. History dates this as 537 B.C. A group of exiled Jews had returned to Israel and begun work on the Temple.
We are told that the vision was true and that Daniel understood the word and the vision. Lastly, we are told the word was about great conflict.
Daniel had been mourning for 3 weeks. He did not eat fancy food, drink wine, or anoint himself during that time. We are not told why he was mourning, but the assumption is he was mourning because of the condition of Jerusalem. We know from the book of Ezra that construction of the temple was opposed by the locals and, at one point, stopped altogether for 15 years.
Interestingly, Daniel mourned and fasted during Passover. (Leviticus 23:4-8) Passover celebrated God’s deliverance of Israel from captivity in Egypt. Daniel mourns because Israel is still in a sort of captivity. They were released from Babylon, but still oppressed in their homeland. Even though Daniel lived in power and luxury in Persia, he identified with the suffering of God’s people in Israel. Those of us blessed to live prosperous lives in countries with freedom to worship God should even now identify with our brothers and sisters in lands where they are persecuted. And there are many such lands today. We should pray for them, encourage them and stand with them. Hebrews 13:3 tells us to suffer with those who are mistreated as if we ourselves were suffering.
Daniel was out walking on the banks of the Tigris River when he saw a very special man. This is similar to Ezekiel’s first vision, where Ezekiel was on the banks of the Chebar canal and saw a vision of God’s glory. (Ezekiel 1) Daniel, in fact, calls this a vision in verse 8.
This man has a dramatic appearance:
clothed in linen;
belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist;
body like beryl;
face like the appearance of lightning (6)
eyes like flaming torches;
arms & legs gleaming like burnished bronze; and
the sound of his voice like the sound of a multitude.
Daniel did not tell us who this being was or what he was. But the description is similar to the description of cherubim in Ezekiel 1. Clearly he reflects God’s glory, as seen by Daniel’s reaction to him.
Daniel was the only one to see the vision (7), as when Ezekiel had his visions and when Jesus appeared to Paul in Acts 9. The word and the vision were meant for Daniel alone. God’s messengers are able to appear to some and remain invisible to others. The men who were with Daniel were scared by the presence and fled.
As for Daniel, his strength left him and when the man spoke, in this voice like a multitude, Daniel was so over come he fainted face first onto the ground and into a deep sleep. The appearance of angels, reflecting the glory of God, is so powerful that human beings are scared, speechless and completely overwhelmed.
Daniel was overwhelmed because the heavenly being reflected God’s holiness and glory. The linen clothing is a symbol of holiness. It was used for the tabernacle and the clothing of Old Testament priests. (Exodus 36:8; Leviticus 16:4) To be in the presence of pure holiness is overwhelming to sinful people. And God’s glory is blazingly bright and overwhelming to mere humans. This is the one we serve. His presence is so powerful that even the reflection of it is unbearably strong to us.
Yet, this powerful and majestic heavenly being tenderly raised Daniel first to his hands and knees, then to fully stand. Even then, Daniel trembled in his presence. But the person told Daniel he was greatly loved, that his words had been heard from the first day he prayed, and this being was sent to answer that prayer. Our all powerful God is tender toward those whom he loves. And he answers our prayers.
Even though this angel was sent on the first day of Daniel’s mourning, he did not arrive for 21 days. This is the 3 weeks of mourning Daniel described in verse 2. What was the cause of the delay? The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood him. Who is the prince? He is a spiritual being since he fought this being from heaven. And he was powerful. From this we deduce this is a demon, an evil angel, to whom Satan had given authority to oppress and deceive the kingdom of Persia. There may have been more than one demon, as he also referred to the kings of Persia. (13) These demons did not want a messenger from God to pierce their realm of influence.
Another heavenly being, Michael, came to help and the messenger got through to Daniel. The messenger described Michael as one of the chief princes. That title, plus his power, shows him to be high the hierarchy of angelic beings. Jude 9 refers to Michael as an archangel who contended with the devil himself for the body of Moses. Revelation 12:7 shows Michael and his angels fighting Satan, referred to as the dragon, and defeating him. They threw him down from heaven to earth. In Daniel 10:21, Michael is referred to as “your prince”. This means he is assigned to protect God’s people. This is also stated in 12:1, that Michael has charge of “your people”.
Here we have a glimpse of spiritual warfare. These evil spiritual beings fought against God’s messenger. A powerful archangel of God defeated them. Paul described this conflict for us in Ephesians. He said “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12) That is why you cannot live the Christian life in your own power. You must be strong in the Lord. (Ephesians 6:1) The powers arrayed against you are more powerful than you are on your own. If this magnificent messenger from heaven, so glorious that Daniel fainted, could not resist this prince of Persia, what hope do you have in your flesh? But in the power of the Lord you are able to be victorious. Jesus is stronger than Satan. In Luke 11:21, Jesus alluded to Satan as a strong man, but himself as the “one stronger”.
The Subject of the Vision
The messenger told the subject plainly: to make Daniel understand whit is to happen to his people in the latter days, in days yet to come from Daniel’s perspective.
Daniel Weakens Again
These words from the heavenly messenger made Daniel weak again.Daniel’s eyes were opened to spiritual conflict and powerful forces. The Israelites struggled not just against human neighbors, but powerful evil beings who opposed the work of God’s people. Again the messenger strengthened him. He was determined to give the word and vision to Daniel as God instructed him to do.
The messenger also gave a glimpse of what was to come. He said he would return to the fight against the prince of Persia. Then a prince of the Greeks would come.
What does the evil prince of Persia do today? Does he support the Islamic State that is rampaging in the middle east, killing Christians and putting them in prison? Does he work to empower nations in the middle east who persecute Christians? Iran, the descendant of Persian, presently holds Christians in prison and tortures them. One is Pastor Saeed. He has been detained in Iran since 2012 because of meetings he held in Christian homes in Iran. There are others and we should pray for God to help them.
Satan and his forces are at work in the United States, using different methods. Here he seduces and encourages the pursuit of pleasure at the cost of holiness. He empowers those who demand that the people of God accommodate the people of the devil accepting their evil behavior and ideals as equal to God’s standards.
Paul told us what our job is in the face of Satan’s work. It is to stand. Recognize the reality of the devil and his power. But do not give him more credit than he deserves. We are to be strong in the Lord, equipped with the weapons he gave us: truth, righteousness, readiness to share the gospel, faith, salvation, the word of God, prayer and perseverance. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
We know that Jesus has already won the battle over Satan. And, through him, we are also conquerors. Romans 8:37-38 says “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through hm who loves us. for I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers nor things present nor things to come nor powers nor height more depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”