Daniel Chapter 10
A bit of archaeological background is connected to this period of time. The capital of the empire would have been Persepolis (“Persian City”) which was located northeast of present-day Shiraz in Iran. It is believed that the location was chosen by Cyrus and that Darius I began construction of the city. It was quite a place, including a throne hall with 100 columns. Thousands of Elamite tablets from the reigns of Darius, Xerxes, and Artaxerxes have been found. This confirms the validity of the Biblical narrative concerning the rulers during these times.
Daniel’s Frightening Vision
This is the third year of the reign of Cyrus, so about 537 B.C. Another vision has come to Daniel, the vision of great warfare. He did not have to wonder about the meaning, for it was clear to him, as he goes on to explain in the following verses. The vision is a prophecy that continues for the final three chapters of the book.
The vision made such an impression on Daniel that he fasted and mourned for three weeks. While he was standing by the great river Tigris (Hiddekel), he saw a man standing there dressed in linen, with a gold belt. The description was very vivid.
“His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult” (Daniel 10:6).
This is very similar to the description of Christ in Revelation 1:12-15:
“And I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; and in the middle of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His breast with a golden girdle. And His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire; and His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been caused to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters.”
The others who were with Daniel did not see the vision, but they saw the effect it had on Daniel and it frightened them so much that they ran away and hid themselves.
Daniel’s strength left him and he turned pale, and when he heard the voice of the man in the vision, he fell into a deep sleep.
Daniel Is Comforted
Daniel was touched, which caused him to tremble. He was told to stand up, as the messenger was speaking to him concerning the vision, to help him understand it. Daniel had made a request to understand the vision, so his prayer is being answered.
There is much speculation as to the identity of the “prince of the kingdom of Persia” who withstood the messenger for 21 days. One reasonable explanation is given here:
“But I judge by the prince of Persia is meant Cambyses, who was an enemy to the Jews, and hindered the building of the temple. Now he could not properly resist the angel, but figuratively he did. Angels' power is not unlimited, but by commission and instructions from God, and their works successive. Therefore God suffered the wicked counsels of Cambyses to take place a while; but Daniel by his prayers, and the angel by his power, overcame him at last. And this very thing laid a foundation of the Persian monarchy's ruin, Da 10:20; and doubtless that king was stirred up to his evil machinations against the people of God by the prince of the powers of darkness, that ruleth in the children of disobedience” (Matthew Poole’s Commentary).
“Meaning Cambyses, who reigned in his father's absence, and did not only for this time hinder the building of the temple, but would have further raged, if God had not sent me to resist him: and therefore I have stayed for the profit of the Church” (Geneva Bible Notes).
This was Cambyses II, who was the son of Cyrus, so it is quite possible that he did have some influence in the affairs of the kingdom. While his father was sympathetic to the Jews, rather than “the Prince of Persia” referring to evil angels or demons, the fact that Daniel was “with” them indicates human beings, not spirit beings.
But now Michael, who is designated elsewhere as the “archangel” has come to help Daniel understand what is going to happen in the “latter days.” This expression refers to the coming of the Messiah.
Daniel was struck speechless in the presence of the messenger until the messenger touched Daniel’s lips. When he spoke, he explained that he was intimidated to be in the presence of a messenger from God. He was weak and breathless. I wonder if our reaction would be the same if an angel of God suddenly appeared and spoke to us.
The angel encourages Daniel to be strengthened and not be afraid. For the third time, Daniel’s character is mentioned by the word “esteem” in Daniel 9:23 and Daniel 10:11.
The angel mentions that the “prince of Greece is about to come.” At this time, 537 B.C., Alexander the Great has not even been born, nor had his father Philip. Alexander was born 356 B.C. He conquered Babylon in 331 B.C. So the prophecy looks ahead some 200 years.
We must remember that these visions and dreams that Daniel is having were fulfilled in the next few hundred years. Daniel sees nothing beyond the Roman Empire and the coming of the Messiah. In Daniel’s vision of the ram and the he-goat, he was told that this pertained to “the time of the end” (8:17) It was pointed out that the Medes, Persians, and Greece would be in conflict then (8:17-21). This was all before the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. but was included in in the historical record concerning the time when the Old Testament Covenant was removed and the New ushered in. Thus all four visions deal with Israel’s future, and its demise when the Kingdom of God under Christ was established. None of these visions go beyond the first century.
The angel then says he must return to continue the fight against the prince of Persia. Sometimes it takes a while to convince those who fight against God what they must do. The ten plagues in Egypt provide an example of this.
There is an interesting phrase in Daniel 10:21 about “what is inscribed in the writing of truth.” While the angel is speaking of the future, he is referring to “what is inscribed in the writing of truth.” Only God is able to “put in writing” what is to take place in the future.
"Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure.” (Isaiah 46:9-10).
Robert Harkrider has a good chart depicting the events that will come to pass in the coming years. This is in his workbook on Daniel, page 54.
THE TIME OF THE END
A vision about what shall befall God’s people in “the latter days”
(Dan. 10:14; cf. 2:28)
In the immediate future
Persia would fall to Greece (11:2-4)
Grecian empire would suffer division and conflict (11:5-20)
A “vile person” (Antiochus Epiphanes) came to power (11:21)
Invaded and conquered (11:21-27)
Met defeat “at the time appointed” (11:28-35)
He took away the daily sacrifice (11:31)
Rome (“Chittim” v. 30) will then conquer
Exalt and magnify self above God (11:36-39)
He shall come to an “end” (11:44-45)
“At That Time” Michael Shall Stand Up (12:1)
“The End”? When Power of
Holy People Scattered (12:7)