DANIEL’S FINAL VISION IS A PROPHETIC PANORAMA
Daniel’s fourth and final great vision includes chapters 10, 11 and 12. It is a vision of the course of the gentile nations covering the 400 silent years up the First Coming of the Messiah. It also includes the final empire that will rule over the nation Israel. In the first part of this vision, the details are not revealed immediately. Rather the focus of this chapter seems to be upon the spiritual warfare that was involved behind the scenes when Daniel prayed for understanding of the vision. Daniel sees a heavenly man, and we are given a glimpse of the spiritual warfare raging in the heavenly places.
THE VISION RECEIVED BY DANIEL
In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia (In Cyrus’ first year, 538 B.C. he gave the Jewish exiles permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. See Ezra 1:1-4. In the second year of Cyrus’ reign, 537 B.C. the people began the sacrifices in Jerusalem, but through great opposition – the temple wasn’t actually completed until 515 B.C. Now in the third year of the reign of Cyrus, 536 B.C. Daniel receives a revelation of a great war.), a revelation (a vision) was given to Daniel (now in his mid 80’s.), 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. (The theme of his vision is a great war, undoubtedly a reference to the final battle of Armageddon.)2At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. (It really shook him up.) 3I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over. (For 21 days he mourned, fasted and neglected personal grooming while in fervent prayer asking God to give him understanding regarding this great war!)
DANIEL IS GIVEN A VISION – SECOND PERSON OF TRINITY OR AN ANGEL?
4On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, (35 miles Northeast of Babylon. We are not told why he didn’t return back to Jerusalem, probably partly due to his age and being one of the administrators of the empire.) 5I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist. 6His body was like chrysolite, 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. (Scholars have wrestled with the question as to whether this is an appearance of the Second Person of the Trinity of a glorious angel. see Rev 1:13-16, Rev 10.)
7I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; the men with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. 8So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. 9Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground. (This sounds like an experience similar to the Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus when Jesus appeared. Acts 9:7, 22:9, 26:14)
REVELATION 1:12-16 THE MAN OF THE VISION WAS THE SECOND PERSON OF THE TRINITY
12I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, (the seven churches, who were commissioned with being lights in a spiritually dark world) 13and among (in the midst of) the lampstands was someone "like a son of man," (The glorified Messiah. See Daniel 7:13-14 and 10:5-6, 16) dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. (The book of Revelation is filled with symbols. Symbols are used to amplify our language – symbols help create mental images to give us better understanding of the nature and character of the person or thing being described. For example, the Antichrist is called a beast. This imagery helps us to understand his dangerous and evil nature. Satan is called a dragon. Jesus is seen here in a glorified form and in the role of a judge.) 14His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16In his right hand he held seven stars, (the seven angels of the seven churches) and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. (Daniel had a similar vision 7:9-10, 10:4-6 and he reveals this is a courtroom scene and judgment is about to be pronounced) 17When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. (John fell as dead before the judge of the universe. His reaction is typical of everyone in scripture who encounters the living God. This supernatural description of Jesus is repeated to the seven churches in Rev 2 & 3.) Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. (Jesus touches his friend to reassure him. However, for nonbelievers, this book is a stern warning and designed to put the fear of God in their heart and to wake them up!) I am the First and the Last. 18I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys (a symbol of release and freedom) of death and Hades (the unseen abode of the unbelieving dead).
A STRONG ANGEL EXPLAINS A 21 DAY DELAY DUE TO THE ANGELIC WARFARE
10A hand touched me (Because this vision is so in keeping with a glorious vision of God, I want you to consider that this is a different angelic being. You will see why in a moment. ) and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 11He 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. 12Then 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. 13But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. (There’s the problem. I don’t know if a demonic angel could resist The second person of the Trinity. It seems more probable, there were other angels in this vision and an angel of very high rank over the kingdom of Medo-Persia resisted this angel that touched Daniel. This passage confirms there is a great spiritual battle in the heavenly realms that we cannot see. These demonic angels oppose God’s plan see Eph 6:11-12. this vision is about the spiritual warfare in the heavenly realms we know very little about.) Then Michael (the protector of Israel see Dan 12:1), one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. (It isn't until Michael the archangel arrives on the scene that the deadlock is broken and the angel is able to get through to Daniel with the answer to his prayer.)
THE PURPOSE OF THE VISION
14Now 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’s 70th week and the Second Coming.)
GOD LOVES THE DRAMA OF LIFE – IT’S HIS GIFT TO US
15While he was saying this to me, I bowed with my face toward the ground and was speechless. 16Then 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 am helpless. 17How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe." (The spirit world takes our breath away. Daniel was totally drained, spent and exhausted due to the vision and the spiritual battle. This warfare in the heavenly realms is also being acted out among humans. Why does God allow all this drama to play out? In our own lives, we doesn’t he just step in and say, “I already know how this is going to turn out, let’s just fast forward to the end? How many people just love watching their kids – do anything? Why. You get to see them experience life and grow.)
18Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. 19"Do not be afraid, O man highly esteemed," he said. "Peace! Be strong now; be strong." (Great leaders excel amid adversity. I see that in Daniel. Through great difficulty, great hardship, great persecution, even great spiritual warfare, he was faithful to his God and fervent in prayer.)
When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, "Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength." (Angels are ministering spirits sent by God see Heb 1:14.) 20So he said, "Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia (an ongoing battle), and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; (Angelic forces behind the Gentiles empires see 2 Kings 6:8-17.) 21but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (What is the Book of truth? It was probably “God’s record of truth in general, of which the Bible is one expression” (John F. Walvoord, Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation, p. 250). The messenger was about to tell Daniel God’s plans for Israel under Persia and Greece (11:2-35) and later in the Tribulation (vv. 36-45) and the Millennium (12:1-4).
—Bible Knowledge Commentary)
MICHAEL, THE RESTRAINER, THE PROTECTOR OF ISRAEL
No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince. 21 "However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me (who restrains) against these forces except Michael your prince. (Michael works on Israel’s behalf. Michael is the restrainer. At the beginning of the Great Tribulation, Michael will arise [Hebrew “amad” = “stand still or step aside”] as Antichrist proclaims himself God, and Michael’s normal ministry of protecting Israel will cease, he will abstain, he will not fight for Israel, thus permitting the Great Tribulation to occur. Paul almost quotes this verse verbatim in 2 Thes 2:6.)
Rodney Stortz: These verses show us the battle of the army of the Lord. Regardless whether it’s the second person of the Trinity, or a mighty angel, this heavenly battle would eventually find its way into the events of human history. And we are seeing it unfold before our eyes.