Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Purpose of the Heavenly Messenger

“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)

Daniel 10:10-21

-In Daniel 10, Daniel finds himself in the year 536 B.C. He has now been in exile for over 70 years. He has seen kings and kingdoms wax and wane under the sun. He has seen empires rise and fall. Through it all, he has seen God Almighty reigning as the Most High God over all the kingdoms of heaven and earth. God Most High is sovereign over every king and every kingdom in every era of history. And now in the final section of Daniel’s book in Daniel 10-12, such is precisely what the readers see once again: the sovereign reign of God over men and nations.
-However, while we often think about the strife and worldview battles occurring in the earthly realms, we rarely in the 21st-century western world ponder the reality of spiritual warfare. But as has always been true, there are ultimately two kingdoms at war with one another throughout history: the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. Such is what we see in this text in Daniel 10:10-21.
-Given the realities of spiritual warfare and the strife in our world today and the uncertainty of the future, we could easily be very afraid. The heavenly messenger in Daniel 10 addresses this very weakness for believers.

Spiritual War
(v. 10-14)
 10And behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 11And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you.” And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling. 12Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. 13The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, 14and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.”

Verse 10
-In verse 5-6, Daniel sees a heavenly being whom he has never seen before. He sees a man clothed in white linen with a belt of fine gold around his waist. His body is translucent gold and his face flashes like lightning. His eyes burn like flaming torches and his limbs gleam like burnished bronze. His voice, which sends Daniel comatose, sounds like a multitude. Such is the description of God in Ezekiel 1 and Jesus Christ in Revelation 1, which leads the Scriptures to indicate that this is the preincarnate Christ appearing before Daniel.
-Having just collapsed in a coma on the ground, Daniel writes that “behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees”
וְהִנֵּה־יָד נָגְעָה בִּי וַתְּנִיעֵנִי עַל־בִּרְכַּי וְכַפּוֹת יָדָי׃)
-The angel Gabriel touched Daniel in order to bring him up from the ground (Daniel 8:18).
-When the apostle John saw the glorified Christ, he fell at His feet as though dead—but Christ laid his hand on him (Revelation 1:17).
Verse 11
-The heavenly messenger addresses Daniel directly: “O Daniel, man greatly loved”
דָּנִיֵּאל אִישׁ־חֲמֻדוֹת).
-In Daniel 9:23, Gabriel told Daniel that he was greatly loved by God.
-To be loved in this way literally means “to be highly esteemed; to be treasured; to be considered valuable.”
-Throughout his life, Daniel encountered those who hated him, most notably during the beginning years of the Medo-Persian Empire (Daniel 6:4-5).
-The Lord Jesus promises that all His saints will be hated by the world, because they hate Him (John 15:18-19; John 16:1-2). Indeed, Daniel was hated in his lifetime because of his words and life of testimony to the Most High God.
-However, as Daniel is reminded again here, while we are personally hated by the world, we are personally greatly loved by the Lord our God (Lamentations 3:22-23; Psalm 118:29; Ephesians 3:17-19).
-The heavenly messenger tells Daniel to “understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you.”
הָבֵן בַּדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי דֹבֵר אֵלֶיךָ וַעֲמֹד עַל־עָמְדֶךָ כִּי עַתָּה שֻׁלַּחְתִּי אֵלֶיךָ)
-In Daniel 9:23, Gabriel instructed Daniel to hear and understand the Word of God.
-In Ezekiel 2:1, Yahweh instructed Ezekiel to stand on his feet, because He was about to speak His Word to him.
-Hence, Daniel says that “And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling” (
וּבְדַבְּרוֹ עִמִּי אֶת־הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה עָמַדְתִּי מַרְעִיד).
-No man can arrogantly stand in the presence of God—even believers will tremble before the glory and majesty of Jesus Christ (Nahum 1:5; Psalm 96:9). 
Verse 12
-The heavenly messenger knows the terror in Daniel’s heart, and so he says, “Fear not, Daniel” (
אַל־תִּירָא דָנִיֵּאל).
-Throughout the Scriptures, God tells His people not to fear (Abraham—Genesis 15:1; Isaac—Genesis 26:24; Moses—Exodus 14:13; Israel—Isaiah 40:9; God’s people—Isaiah 41:10, 13; the disciples—Matthew 10:31; the apostle John—Revelation 1:17)
-Not only does the heavenly messenger tell Daniel not to fear, he addresses Daniel personally by name. The Lord Jesus knows us by name (John 10:14; John 10:27).

-Daniel does not need to fear the messenger, for the messenger says, “From the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.”
-Daniel as a man set his “heart” (
לֵב) to understand God’s Word, God’s reign, and God’s plan for the future (Daniel 9:2). As Christians, we are to set our hearts to understand these same things (2 Timothy 2:15).
-Daniel did not seek these things arrogantly or with a spirit of self-confidence, but he “humbled” (
ענה) himself before the Lord.
-The only type of individual to whom the Lord looks favorably is the humble heart that trembles at His Word (Isaiah 66:1-2).
-God indeed looked lovingly upon Daniel here, for he heard Daniel’s words and sent His messenger to speak to Daniel, for the messenger says, “I have come because of your words” (
וַאֲנִי־בָאתִי בִּדְבָרֶיךָ). God indeed hears the heart-cries of His beloved saints (Psalm 145:19; 1 John 5:14). 
Verse 13
-The heavenly messenger tells Daniel that he did not immediately arrive at Daniel’s first day of fasting and praying because “The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days” (
וְשַׂר מַלְכוּת פָּרַס עֹמֵד לְנֶגְדִּי עֶשְׂרִים וְאֶחָד יוֹם).
-The period of twenty-one days is the precise length of time that Daniel fasted and prayed (Daniel 10:2-3).
We ought carefully to notice this, because delay often disturbs us when God does not immediately extend his help, and for a long time hides from us the fruit of our prayers. Whenever our passions burst forth with a strong impetuosity, and we easily manifest tokens of impatience, we must notice this expression of the angel, for our prayers may be already heard while God’s favour and mercy is concealed from us. The experience of Daniel is daily fulfilled in every member of the Church, and without the slightest doubt the same discipline is exercised towards all the pious. This is our practical reflection.[1]
-This “prince of the kingdom of Persia” (וְשַׂר מַלְכוּת פָּרַס) is no human being—human beings cannot stop or thwart any heavenly being in Scripture (Daniel 4:17).
-Rather, Scripture gives us indication that just as there are hierarchies of angels (Isaiah 6), there are also hierarchies of demons (Ephesians 6:12). This “prince” (
שַׂר) is a demon exercising power along with other demons over Persia.
-Some commentators have doubted whether Christ is the messenger, based on the fact that this messenger engaged in spiritual warfare for three weeks. Some have instead postulated that it is Gabriel, but it is not Gabriel. Daniel would have identified Gabriel and this figure is described in ways that only apply to God and the Lord Jesus Christ in the Scriptures. Therefore, it is more likely that A) Christ in His sovereignty permitted spiritual warfare to take place for three weeks, or B) an angel speaking on behalf of Christ now talks, but this is less likely.
-The messenger says that “Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia”.
Michael [מִיכָאֵל] is introduced in this verse and is also mentioned in Dan 10:21; 12:1; Jude 9; and Rev 12:7 in Scripture. In Jude 9 he is called the “archangel,” which means “first (chief) angel.” Michael has been assigned by God as Israel’s prince (cf. 10:21); he is “great” in power and protects the Jewish people (cf. 12:1). The implications of these statements are clear. Israel has a mighty angelic supporter in the heavenly realm. Therefore, regardless of Israel’s political, military, and economic weaknesses, its existence is assured because no earthly power can resist their great prince.[2]
Verse 14
-The heavenly messenger’s purpose specifically is to “make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.”
לַהֲבִינְךָ אֵת אֲשֶׁר־יִקְרָה לְעַמְּךָ בְּאַחֲרִית הַיָּמִים כִּי־עוֹד חָזוֹן לַיָּמִים).
-This vision particularly concerns the nation of Israel, for the messenger says it concerns Daniel’s people. Also, it concerns things “in the latter days” (
בְּאַחֲרִית הַיָּמִים).
-As will be seen in chapters 11-12, the latter days concern both the latter days of the Old Testament and Old Covenant era and the latter days of all of human history in “days yet to come” (
כִּי־עוֹד חָזוֹן לַיָּמִים) from our own vantage point in history.
-Indeed, as will be seen moving forward, the content in this final vision repeats and more greatly develops visions that Daniel has already received in this book.

Spiritual Strength
(v. 15-21)
15When he had spoken to me according to these words, I turned my face toward the ground and was mute. 16And behold, one in the likeness of the children of man touched my lips. Then I opened my mouth and spoke. I said to him who stood before me, “O my lord, by reason of the vision pains have come upon me, and I retain no strength. 17How can my lord's servant talk with my lord? For now no strength remains in me, and no breath is left in me.” 18Again one having the appearance of a man touched me and strengthened me. 19And he said, “O man greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage.” And as he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.” 20Then he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? But now I will return to fight against the prince of Persia; and when I go out, behold, the prince of Greece will come. 21But I will tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth: there is none who contends by my side against these except Michael, your prince.
Verse 15
-The heavenly messenger has a voice like a multitude, and Daniel’s response is very similar to his initial reaction. “When he had spoken to me according to these words, I turned my face toward the ground and was mute” (
וּבְדַבְּרוֹ עִמִּי כַּדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה נָתַתִּי פָנַי אַרְצָה וְנֶאֱלָמְתִּי).
-Daniel cannot look upon the majestic glory of this messenger—he turns his face toward the ground. Even around the throne of God, the cherubim have wings to cover their eyes because they cannot gaze upon the full glory of God (Isaiah 6:1-2).
-Furthermore, Daniel “was mute” (
וְנֶאֱלָמְתִּי) upon hearing the voice of the messenger.
-At the voice of the Lord, men fall silent and cannot speak Habakkuk 2:20).
-Unlike those who think that they could argue their case before almighty God, Scripture says otherwise (Zephaniah 1:7; Zechariah 2:13).
Verse 16
-In wonder and amazement, Daniel writes that “Behold, one in the likeness of the children of man touched my lips.” (
וְהִנֵּה כִּדְמוּת בְּנֵי אָדָם נֹגֵעַ עַל־שְׂפָתָי)
-In Isaiah 6:1-7, Isaiah’s lips are touched by one of the seraphim in order to atone for his sin and prepare his mouth to be a trumpet for the Lord.
-In Jeremiah 1:9, Yahweh touches Jeremiah’s lips to declare that He has put His word into Jeremiah’s mouth.
-The prophets of God did not speak of their own ability (Exodus 3:10-12) but spoke the voice of God to the world.
-The New Testament apostles also did not speak or have power because of their own ability, but rather through the power of the Holy Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 1:17; 1 Corinthians 2:4-5).
-Now, Daniel records that “I opened my mouth and spoke.”
וָאֶפְתַּח־פִּי וָאֲדַבְּרָה וָאֹמְרָה)
-What does Daniel then say to the heavenly being? “I said to him who stood before me, O my lord, by reason of the vision pains have come upon me, and I retain no strength.”
-When confronted with the majesty and glory of God and the divine power of His words, we can only humbly confess to Him that we have no strength of our own (Psalm 6:2; Jeremiah 9:23-24).
Verse 17
-Daniel says plainly to the messenger, “How can my lord’s servant talk with my lord? For now no strength remains in me, and no breath is left in me.” In the overwhelming glory of this heavenly messenger, Daniel says that he can barely speak, let alone breathe, in the presence of divine majesty.
No wonder, then, if men fall down and faint away, when God shews such signs of his glory; for when God puts forth his strength against us, what are we? At his appearance alone the mountains melt, at his voice alone the whole earth is shaken. (Ps. 104:32.) How, then, can men stand upright who are only dust and ashes, when God appears in his glory?[3]
Verse 18
-Daniel writes that “again one having the appearance of a man touched me and strengthened me.” (
וַיֹּסֶף וַיִּגַּע־בִּי כְּמַרְאֵה אָדָם וַיְחַזְּקֵנִי)
-Once again, the messenger touched Daniel to encourage him. Our Lord knows that we need constant encouragement, for He knows our weaknesses and our human frailty (Psalm 103:13-14).
-Daniel says that the messenger “strengthened me” (
-Our strength can only be given by and only come from the Lord our God (Isaiah 35:3-4; Ephesians 6:10).
-God ministers to us through the power of His Spirit to strengthen us according to His Word (Psalm 119:28).
-God’s strength will never fail us (Isaiah 40:31).
-The strength to face the future and to stand courageously for the Lord on a daily basis can only come, just as the apostle Paul affirmed (Philippians 4:11-13).
Verse 19
-“And he said, ‘O man greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage.’” (
וַיֹּאמֶר אַל־תִּירָא אִישׁ־חֲמֻדוֹת שָׁלוֹם לָךְ חֲזַק וַחֲזָק)
-Once again, the heavenly messenger encourages Daniel that he is greatly loved and that he need not fear. He also adds, “peace be with you” (
שָׁלוֹם לָךְ). 
-This “peace” (
שָׁלוֹם) is peace that comes from God as a covenant blessing (Numbers 6:22-27).
-This peace from God is a peace that can only come from the God of peace (Judges 6:24).
-This is the peace that the Lord Jesus promised His disciples at the Last Supper (John 14:27).
-This is the same greeting the Lord offered His disciples at His first post-resurrection appearance to them (John 20:19).
-This peace was not only offered and given to Daniel or the disciples, but also to us today (Philippians 4:6-7; Colossians 3:15).
-Ultimately, we have peace with God because of the substitutionary atonement that Jesus Christ provides on our behalf (Romans 5:1).
-The messenger also says, “Be strong and of good courage” (
חֲזַק וַחֲזָק).
-The Lord said words very similar to Joshua in Joshua 1:6-9. In the Lord we have courage and strength.
-Daniel then says, “And as he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, ‘Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me’”
וּבְדַבְּרוֹ עִמִּי הִתְחַזַּקְתִּי וָאֹמְרָה יְדַבֵּר אֲדֹנִי כִּי חִזַּקְתָּנִי).
-“Daniel, then, was prostrate, but afterwards recovered his strength when God restored his courage. We ought to understand the certainty of our being compelled to vanish into nothing whenever God sets before us any sign of his power and majesty; and yet he restores us again, and shews himself to be our father, and bears witness of his favour towards us by both words and other signs.[4]
Verse 20
-The messenger now asks Daniel, “Do you know why I have come to you?”
הֲיָדַעְתָּ לָמָּה־בָּאתִי אֵלֶיךָ).
-The messenger has already stated why he has come to Daniel. He has come to encourage Daniel and give him a vision of what is to come in the latter days, and to strengthen and remind Daniel of God’s great love for him.
-The messenger then says, “But now I will return to fight against the prince of Persia”
וְעַתָּה אָשׁוּב לְהִלָּחֵם עִם־שַׂר פָּרָס)
-The spiritual battle that was temporarily suspended in order to deliver this message to Daniel will then resume after the message is finished. For us, we must understand that the spiritual battle we engage in will constantly persist, and we need to always be ready for it (Ephesians 6:10-13).
-The messenger reveals that “when I go out, behold, the prince of Greece will come”
וַאֲנִי יוֹצֵא וְהִנֵּה שַׂר־יָוָן בָּא).
In keeping with the identification of the previously mentioned prince of Persia, “the prince of Greece” would be Satan or one of his demons. This evil spirit would come later when the empire of Greece rose to power, indicating that the angelic conflict would continue into the time of the Greek Empire. Angelic support for God’s people would be needed then, for chap. 11 details many of the struggles of the Jews during the Greek period, especially the crisis during the rule of Antiochus IV. Thus the statement of conflict during the Greek period is noted because it is preparatory to the revelation presented in the following chapter.[5]
Verse 21
-The heavenly being declares to Daniel, “But now I will tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth” (
אֲבָל אַגִּיד לְךָ אֶת־הָרָשׁוּם בִּכְתָב אֱמֶת).
-The “book of truth” (
בִּכְתָב אֱמֶת) refers to God’s plan for the future, and once again, it is reinforced that this plan is true (Daniel 10:1).
-It is not the plans of the White House or the Kremlin or the Democrat or Republican or Conservative or Liberal parties that will stand, but the plans of the Lord that will stand forever and will be accomplished in history (Psalm 33:10-11).
-Parenthetically, the messenger tells Daniel that “there is none who contends by my side against these except Michael, your prince”
וְאֵין אֶחָד מִתְחַזֵּק עִמִּי עַל־אֵלֶּה כִּי אִם־מִיכָאֵל שַׂרְכֶם).
-Among his duties as the archangel of God (Jude 1:9) is the responsibility of protecting the nation of Israel from demonic attacks (Daniel 12:1). Michael alone in Scripture was able to contend with Satan, but only Christ can finally defeat Satan and his demonic forces that have waged war since the beginning of time (Revelation 20:7-10).

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)


Download the Study Here

[1] Calvin, J., & Myers, T. (2010). Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Daniel (Vol. 2, p. 251). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
[2] Miller, S. R. (1994). Daniel (Vol. 18, p. 285). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
[3] Calvin, J., & Myers, T. (2010). Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Daniel (Vol. 2, p. 259). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
[4] Calvin, J., & Myers, T. (2010). Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Daniel (Vol. 2, p. 259). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
[5] Miller, S. R. (1994). Daniel (Vol. 18, p. 288). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Vision of the Heavenly Messenger

Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!” (Psalm 96:9)

Daniel 10:1-9

-Daniel has now been living in Babylon as an exile for 70 years. He is in his mid to late 80s as an elderly man. Daniel himself did not have a great deal of time left in his lifetime. Daniel had seen the world change in profound and major ways in his lifetime. As a boy, he witnessed the death of the last great godly king in Judah when King Josiah died. He saw the kingdom of Judah become increasingly weakened to the point where the Egyptian Pharaoh installed one of Josiah’s sons on the throne. He saw the repeated invasions of Judah by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, being exiled in the first of three major invasions. He lived in the downfall of Judah, the complete dispersion of Israel, and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. He lived for decades serving King Nebuchadnezzar in the Babylonian Empire. He saw Nebuchadnezzar die and several kings succeed him. He saw the Medo-Persian Empire under King Cyrus overthrow the Babylonian Empire.
-In his personal life, Daniel throughout his life has been a man of deep courage and conviction. His life has been marked by a devotion to the Scriptures in terms of study and adherence, and his ministry has been to speak and prophesy the words of the Lord before kings and kingdoms. He survived multiple brushes with death, miraculously surviving a night in a den of lions. Decades before, he saw his friends supernaturally survive being cast into a burning fiery furnace.
-Daniel 10-12 serves as the final vision and final chapter in the book of Daniel and Daniel’s life. These last three chapters are one single literary unit, with chapter 10 introducing the final messenger to appear in Daniel, chapter 11 meticulously prophesying the kings and kingdoms in the intertestamental era, and chapter 12 prophesying of the last days and the final victory of Christ over evil and the resurrection from the dead.

The Final Vision
(v. 1-4)

Verse 1
In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a word was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar. And the word was true, and it was a great conflict. And he understood the word and had understanding of the vision.

-Chapter 10 opens “in the third year of Cyrus king of Persia
בִּשְׁנַת שָׁלוֹשׁ לְכוֹרֶשׁ מֶלֶךְ פָּרַס).
-Cyrus was a Persian monarch who united the Median Empire with the Persian Empire to form the mighty Medo-Persian Empire. He overthrew the Babylonian Empire in In biblical history, Cyrus is significant for being the king that decreed that the Jewish exiles could return to their homeland (Isaiah 45:13).
-King Cyrus reigned over Persia from 559-530 B.C. and over the combined empire from 549-530 B.C., but Daniel here is only considering his reign over Babylon from 539 B.C.-530 B.C. Therefore, the year is 535 B.C. as chapter 10 opens three years after chapter 9 ends.
-In 536 B.C., “a word was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar
דָּבָר נִגְלָה לְדָנִיֵּאל אֲשֶׁר־נִקְרָא שְׁמוֹ בֵּלְטְשַׁאצַּר).
-This “word” (
דָּבָר) that is revealed to Daniel is no ordinary word, but a world “revealed”
גלה) to him by God.
-Most importantly, “the word was true” (
וֶאֱמֶת הַדָּבָר).
-Scripture testifies that the revelations from the Lord prove true (Proverbs 30:5; Psalm 18:30) and that they are not man’s thoughts or ideas about the future, but God’s revelations for what will in fact take place (2 Peter 1:20-21).
-This final vision concerns “a great conflict” (
וְצָבָא גָדוֹל).
-Throughout chapters 11-12, men, nations, and the forces of God’s Kingdom and the kingdom of darkness are in conflict. Chapter 11 describes much conflict yet future from Daniel’s perspective. Chapter 12 features the final conflict of the last days. There are also windows into the spiritual conflicts occurring between angels and demons, as well.
-Unlike other visions Daniel had received, “he understood the word and had understanding of the vision” (
וּבִין אֶת־הַדָּבָר וּבִינָה לוֹ בַּמַּרְאֶה).
-At the end of Daniel 8 about the visions of the ram and the goat (representing the kingdoms of Medo-Persia and Greece), Daniel did not understand the vision (Daniel 8:27). However, as with other visions (Daniel 1:17; Daniel 9:23), God here gives him understanding to comprehend it.

Verse 2
In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks.
-Daniel now says that “In those days, I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks”
בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם אֲנִי דָנִיֵּאל הָיִיתִי מִתְאַבֵּל שְׁלֹשָׁה שָׁבֻעִים יָמִים׃).
-Daniel says that he was “mourning” (
אבל). This mourning in Scripture took place in grieving for the dead (Genesis 37:34) or over sin (Ezra 10:6). Sometimes people deeply mourned significant tragedies (Ezekiel 7:12).
-Nehemiah mourned when he heard about the state of the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1:4).
-We are not told as to why Daniel is mourning here. Perhaps he is mourning that he was unable to return with the exiles to the Promised Land. Perhaps he is mourning over the spiritual state of the returning exiles. In Daniel 9, Daniel was mourning because of the spiritual state of the exiles in Babylon (Daniel 9:1-3).
-Here, Daniel is mourning “for three weeks” (
שְׁלֹשָׁה שָׁבֻעִים יָמִים).
-Mourning in ancient times often continued for many days or weeks (Genesis 50:3), and here Daniel mourned for 21 days.

Verse 3
I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks.

-As a dietary practice during mourning, “I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth” (
לֶחֶם חֲמֻדוֹת לֹא אָכַלְתִּי וּבָשָׂר וָיַיִן לֹא־בָא אֶל־פִּי).
-During times of mourning and deep distress, people would not eat regular food (Daniel 6:18).
-Here, Daniel refers to the fact that he would not eat the royal food during this period, as doing so would be inappropriate (Amos 6:6).
-As another practice, common during mourning, Daniel says “nor did I anoint myself at all”
וְסוֹךְ לֹא־סָכְתִּי).
-To “anoint” (
סוך) in this context means “to put on lotions and oils” and refers to the practice of not putting on facial lotions or oils during periods of mourning.
“I used no lotions at all” means that Daniel “neglected the usual niceties of personal grooming, such as fragrant oil on his hair or body.” Anointing the body with oil was a common practice among the Jews and other ancient peoples, its purpose being to soothe and refresh the skin and to protect against the heat.13[1]
-These practices continued “for the full three weeks” (
עַד־מְלֹאת שְׁלֹשֶׁת שָׁבֻעִים יָמִים).
-What Daniel does here is follow a biblical practice that is often lost today—mourning and fasting in prayer. What Daniel is most concerned about and most grieved by is that which grieves the heart of God, not what grieves the heart of man.

Verse 4
On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river (that is, the Tigris)

-However, Daniel’s period of mourning is going to be astoundingly interrupted “on the twenty-fourth day of the first month” (
וּבְיוֹם עֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבָּעָה לַחֹדֶשׁ הָרִאשׁוֹן).
-The month of Nisan was the first month in the ancient calendar (corresponding to March-April in our calendar), and it began by the Lord’s command to commemorate the Exodus (Exodus 12:1-2).
-Daniel began fasting on the third of Nisan and continued until the 24th off Nisan. The Passover was to be celebrated on the 14th of Nisan (Exodus 12:3-6) and the Feast of Unleavened Bread celebrated throughout the week following Passover (Exodus 12:15-20). Therefore, Daniel is fasting and mourning during what would be the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread.
-On this day, Daniel says, “I was standing on the bank of the great river (that is, the Tigris)” (
וַאֲנִי הָיִיתִי עַל יַד הַנָּהָר הַגָּדוֹל הוּא חִדָּקֶל).
-The Euphrates and Tigris rivers are two major rivers in the world that run roughly parallel to each other. Originating in the eastern Anatolian mountains, they flow through Turkey, Syria, and Iraq to where they terminate at the Persian Gulf. They are the two rivers that water the Fertile Crescent.
-The Euphrates River ran straight through the heart of the city of Babylon, while the “Tigris”
חִדֶּ֫קֶל) River, known in Hebrew as Hiddekel, ran at its closest point 20 miles northeast of the city. As to why Daniel is on the banks of the Tigris is uncertain—perhaps because he was visiting provinces in the Medo-Persian Empire or perhaps he traveled away from the city for a time of solitude and mourning.

The Final Messenger
(v. 5-9)

Verse 5
I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a man clothed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist.

-Daniel writes, “I lifted up my eyes and looked” (
וָאֶשָּׂא אֶת־עֵינַי וָאֵרֶא).
-In Scripture, the expression “lifted up my eyes” means to look intently at something or someone (Psalm 121:1; Psalm 123:1).
-In prophetic literature, this expression often introduces a new vision (Ezekiel 8:5; Daniel 8:3).
-“Behold, a man clothed in linen” (
וְהִנֵּה אִישׁ־אֶחָד לָבוּשׁ בַּדִּים) appears before him.
-The expression “Behold” (
הִנֵּה) is a Hebrew interjection that expresses excitement and awe and commands the attention of the listener to rivet their attention on what happens next.
-Daniel sees one in the appearance of a “man” (
אִישׁ). This man is “clothed in linen”
לָבוּשׁ בַּדִּים).
-Linen in Scripture is the apparel of priests (Leviticus 16:4), angels (Ezekiel 9:2-3; Revelation 15:6) and here refers specifically to pure, linen which symbolizes holiness and purity (Revelation 3:5; Revelation 6:11).
-Earlier in Daniel 7:9, the Ancient of Days is described as wearing garments, symbolizing the absolute holiness and purity of God (Isaiah 6:3-4).
-This figure, therefore, is a holy messenger from the Ancient of Days, whoever he may yet be identified as.

-This man is wearing “a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist”
וּמָתְנָיו חֲגֻרִים בְּכֶתֶם אוּפָז). 
-Daniel then sees that this heavenly figure is wearing “a belt of fine gold”
וּמָתְנָיו חֲגֻרִים בְּכֶתֶם).
-This belt is likely a linen belt with gold thread embroidery with fine gold from “Uphaz”
אוּפָז). However, the historical location of Uphaz is unknown to us today.
-In the Scriptures, gold from Uphaz is described as the finest gold available (Jeremiah 10:9).
-In Daniel’s day, kings and judges would wear golden belts to signify royal power and the ability to render verdicts. Golden belts were also the attire of the wealthy and rich.
-However, in this biblical symbolism, this golden belt signifies more than wealth or riches—it signifies that this figure is from God and reflective of God Himself. Angels in Revelation wear golden sashes (Revelation 15:6) and Christ Jesus Himself wears a golden sash in Revelation 1:13.

Verse 6
His body was like
 beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude.
-Now in verse 6, the descriptions of this heavenly messenger are reflective of the vision of God in Ezekiel 1:26-28 and echoed hundreds of years later in the vision of the glorified Christ in Revelation 1:12-18.
“His body was like beryl” (
וּגְוִיָּתוֹ כְתַרְשִׁישׁ).
-“Beryl” (
תַּרְשִׁישׁ) has also been rendered as chrysotile or topaz. This refers to a gold-colored transparent precious stone that flashes in the light.
-In Ezekiel 1, the four great wheels that spin around the throne of God are made of sparkling beryl (Ezekiel 1:16; Ezekiel 10:9).
-God Almighty appears with a glowing, flashing, golden appearance to the prophet Ezekiel in Ezekiel 1:26-27.
-The appearance of the body of the heavenly messenger denotes him as precisely that: a heavenly messenger reflecting the glory of God. This is no mere ordinary human being, and it is no mere ordinary angel, either.

-“His face like the appearance of lightning” (
וּפָנָיו כְּמַרְאֵה בָרָק).
-“Lightning”  (
בָּרָק), for the milliseconds that it exists in meteorological storms, is hotter and brighter than the sun itself. Daniel would not even be able to look for any lengthy period of time at this figure’s face, as it would be far too bright for that.
-Who is this heavenly messenger? Daniel himself is not told, but other passages of Scripture reveal his identity.
-In Scripture, lightning is a symbol for the majesty of the presence of God (Revelation 4:5).
-In Matthew 28:3, the angel seated at the empty tomb has a face that shines as brilliantly as lightning.
-In Matthew 17:1-2, Jesus became transfigured before His disciples and became as bright as lightning.

-“His eyes like flaming torches” (
וְעֵינָיו כְּלַפִּידֵי אֵשׁ וּזְרֹעֹתָיו).
-In Scripture, God often appears in fire. He appeared to Moses in the burning bush (Exodus 3:1-5). Later on that same mountain, the Lord appeared to Moses again in smoke and fire (Exodus 19:16-20).
-Moses reminds the Israelites that no other God had appeared before men and spoken out of the midst of the fire (Deuteronomy 4:11-12).
-In Daniel 7, God Almighty appears in fire (Daniel 7:9-10).
-Most importantly, the New Testament identifies Jesus Christ as God incarnate who possesses eyes with flames of fire (Revelation 1:14; Revelation 2:18; Revelation 19:12).
-The fact that his eyes are flaming torches signifies the holy and piercing gaze of God upon mankind.
-“His arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze”
וּמַרְגְּלֹתָיו כְּעֵין נְחֹשֶׁת קָלָל) describes the limbs of this heavenly figure.
-The gleam of burnished bronze is a fiery appearance, which matches the description of God in Ezekiel 1:27.
-Furthermore, the New Testament repeatedly describes Jesus Christ as having arms and “legs” (literally, feet) of burnished bronze or gleaming metal (Revelation 1:15; Revelation 2:18).
-“And the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude”
וְקוֹל דְּבָרָיו כְּקוֹל הָמוֹן).
-The “sound of a multitude” (
כְּקוֹל הָמוֹן) means the voice of this heavenly messenger roared and thundered like a massive crowd speaking in unison. 
-In Revelation 1:15, the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ described in similar terms.
-The identity of this heavenly messenger, while not stated in Daniel 10, is nevertheless clear from other passages of Scripture. This heavenly messenger is no mere angel. It is not Gabriel, whom Daniel has already seen and would have immediately identified (Daniel 8:15-17; Daniel 9:20-21). Nor is this the archangel Michael, for he is identified as a separate figure in Daniel 12:1. 
-The final heavenly messenger to appear to Daniel is none other than the preincarnate Lord Jesus Christ. His presence radiates the glory of His Father, for He is the second person of the Trinity. He is unlike any angel or any man—Jesus Christ stands supreme above all others and Jesus Christ stands alone as Lord.   

Verse 7

And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision, but a great trembling fell upon them, and they fled to hide themselves.

-Like others in the Scriptures, “I, Daniel, alone saw the vision”
וְרָאִיתִי אֲנִי דָנִיֵּאל לְבַדִּי). This affirms once again Daniel’s status as the Lord’s chosen prophet to His people.
-In 2 Kings 6:17-20, Elisha alone at first sees the vision of the chariots of fire.
-In Acts 9:1-7, the persecutor Saul alone sees the Lord Jesus Christ appear to Him.
-Daniel states that “the men who were with me did not see the vision”
אֶת־הַמַּרְאָה וְהָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר הָיוּ עִמִּי לֹא רָאוּ אֶת־הַמַּרְאָה).
-This is parallel to the encounter of the apostle Paul on the road to Damascus, as previously mentioned. It also affirms that this is indeed a genuine message and not a non-inspired second-hand account.
-However, while those around Daniel did not see the vision, “a great trembling fell upon them, and they fled to hide themselves” (
אֲבָל חֲרָדָה גְדֹלָה נָפְלָה עֲלֵיהֶם וַיִּבְרְחוּ בְּהֵחָבֵא).
-“Trembling” (
חֲרָדָה) here does not refer to nervousness or anxiety, but knee-knocking fear. Such is what the presence of the Lord produces in mere mortals (Psalm 96:9).
-Unbelieving men cannot stand in the presence of the Lord, and while these men fled to hide, unbelievers cannot stand in the presence of the living God (Luke 23:30; Revelation 6:16).

Verse 8
So I was left alone and saw this great vision, and no strength was left in me. My radiant appearance was fearfully changed, and I retained no strength.

-“So I was left alone and saw this great vision”
וַאֲנִי נִשְׁאַרְתִּי לְבַדִּי וָאֶרְאֶה אֶת־הַמַּרְאָה הַגְּדֹלָה הַזֹּאת).
-Daniel is now alone in the presence of the pre-existent Son of God. This is no ordinary vision—this is a
“great vision” (אֶת־הַמַּרְאָה הַגְּדֹלָה). This is unlike anything Daniel has ever seen.
-However, Daniel was likewise affected like the other men who fled—even more so. “No strength was left in me” (
וְלֹא נִשְׁאַר־בִּי כֹּחַ).
-Daniel goes on further to say that
“My radiant appearance was fearfully changed, and I retained no strength” (וְהוֹדִי נֶהְפַּךְ עָלַי לְמַשְׁחִית וְלֹא עָצַרְתִּי כֹּחַ).
-Daniel’s appearance, as had happened before, loses all color. As a natural reaction, the adrenal system of the human body reduces blood flow to the surface of the skin during moments of intense fear or anxiety. The blood vessels near the surface of the skin constrict, reducing the flow of blood so that it can be prioritized to other vital organs. Such was the reaction of Daniel previously (Daniel 8:27) and of Belteshazzar when the hand of God wrote on the wall of the palace (Daniel 5:5-6).

Verse 9
Then I heard the sound of his words, and as I heard the sound of his words, I fell on my face in deep sleep with my face to the ground. 

-Not only does Daniel see him, he says that “then I heard the sound of his words”
וָאֶשְׁמַע אֶת־קוֹל דְּבָרָיו).
-The mere appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ is glorious enough to drive men to absolute terror and fear in His presence. But now, the Lord Jesus starts speaking.
-“And as I heard the sound of his words, I fell on my face in deep sleep with my face to the ground.” (
וּכְשָׁמְעִי אֶת־קוֹל דְּבָרָיו וַאֲנִי הָיִיתִי נִרְדָּם עַל־פָּנַי וּפָנַי אָרְצָה)
-As soon as Daniel hears the voice of Christ, he immediately falls into a comatose state:
“I fell on my face in deep sleep” (וַאֲנִי הָיִיתִי נִרְדָּם עַל־פָּנַי). 
-Abraham fell into a comatose state when the Lord God appeared to him in Genesis 15:12.
-When the disciples heard the voice of God the Father at the transfiguration of Christ, they fell down with their faces to the ground (Matthew 17:6).
-Likewise, the apostle John fell down at the feet of the glorified Christ as though dead (Revelation 1:17).
-This text in Daniel reminds us of this simple truth: Jesus Christ has appeared in history and will appear in history in order to declare how God’s plan for the ages will unfold. Jesus Christ is more glorious than anything or anyone we could ever imagine. In our lives, we need to remember Psalm 46:10.  Christ will be exalted among the nations, and He will be exalted over the earth. That glorious Lord died on the cross for us and rose again so we could have everlasting life and the hope of a kingdom that cannot be shaken. 

Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were , like wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, "Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” (Revelation 1:12-18)


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[1] Miller, S. R. (1994). Daniel (Vol. 18, p. 278). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.