This teaching on Daniel chapter 10 was given on the 4th July 2021 by pastor Barry Forder at Calvary Chapel Portsmouth.
In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.
We are now two years on from events of the previous chapter (about 536 B.C.). As we have already noted, Cyrus and Darius both started their reigns simultaneously, so this would have also been the third years of Darius. The fact that Daniel doesn’t mention Darius here is probably due to the fact that Darius has now died. From what we know from secular history, Gubaru the Mead (whom we are certain changed his name upon receiving the throne to Darius the Mead) only lived for a short time after he was appointed as king of Babylon by Cyrus.
One of the most common attacks on the book of Daniel by the critics, is to state that there is no record of a person called ‘Daniel’ in the ancient Babylonian records that have been found, and therefore he must be a fictional character, and the book must have been written much later by psudo-Daniel. As Proverbs tells us, the first to state his case seems right until his neighbour comes and examines him! And so it is here. The critics arguments can sometimes seem plausible until one looks at the facts! For why would anyone expect to find Daniel’s name on any of the official documents of the day? Daniel was his Jewish name, and the Jews were mere captives in the land of the Chaldeans. As Daniel reminds us here, even as late as the third year of the reign of Cyrus – two years after Daniel had retired from public office (see Dan 1:21) – he was know as Belteshazzar. As Professor Robert D Wilson points out, there is ample evidence to confirm that a man by this name did indeed hold a high public office during this period in Babylon. As David said: “Your Word is true from the beginning!” (Ps 119:160)
Daniel here explains that something was revealed to him, and it was true. He also tells us that the fulfilment for that which was revealed to him was to be in the distant future; and as we will see, the last three chapters of the book of Daniel span human history from the time of Daniel to the time when Jesus will return to establish his kingdom and reign on the throne of David.
The good news is that Daniel says he understood what he was told – so with 2,500 years of history on our side, we should be able to understand too!
2 In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks.
3 I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.
Daniel doesn’t tell us why he was mourning, but it was no doubt to do with his people and their future – certainly that which was revealed to him and is explained in the following chapters specifically relates to Israel and their future.
NB: Fasting is about spiritual preparation, not a ‘knee jerk’ reaction to a problem that occurs. Jesus fasted as a matter of course, and was therefore ready to face whatever confronted Him (cf Matt 17:21)
And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel;
Hiddekel is another name for the Tigris – the river approx 20 miles east of Babylon. Remember, that by now Daniel has officially retired so had no need to be in the city.
Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz:
Now we are told of Daniel’s vision.
Linen in scripture is associated with righteousness/man (cf. Rev 19:8); and gold is associated with kings – so we have a righteous man who is a king! (That somewhat limits our options!)
His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.
We are not told why Daniel saw this vision, but it is the last vision he sees, and without doubt the greatest of them all.
Who is this ‘certain man’? Scholars are divided, some say a super angel, but I am with those who see this as a ‘Christophany’ – an Old Testament appearance of Jesus Christ. If we compare this vision to the vision that John saw on Patmos, it would appear to be the same person. Certainly, judging by Daniel’s reaction, bearing in mind he has already met angels, this would seem to be someone far greater than an angel.
“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,…..And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:” (Rev 1:10-17)
And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.
Just as Paul on the Damascus road, those accompanying him were terrified.
“And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man”. (Acts 9:7)“And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me” (Acts 22:9). Note, there is not a contradiction here. The men with Paul clearly ‘heard a voice’, but they could not hear what the voice was saying.
Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.
As it was for Paul, John, and Isaiah, coming face to face with God exposes our own weakness and spiritual poverty like never before. All the ‘good’ that we possess is turned to filthy rags in the presence of a holy God, and like Isaiah, all we can say is ‘Woe is me! For I am undone’ (Isaiah 6:5).
It is interesting that Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 15 that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (1 Cor 15:50-53) Thus, we will be given new bodies at the time of the Rapture that will be fit for eternity, that won’t decay, and will last for eternity in the presence of God!
Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground.
Notice what Daniel says here: I heard the voice of His words – any who have read scripture have heard His words; what must it be like to hear the voice of His words?! When we do, we will be face down too! We’re not actually told what was said, maybe it was just for Daniel’s ears. Maybe it was ‘well done good and faithful servant’. Will we hear those words? Are we living lives worthy of our vocation? (see Ephesians 4:1).
In the KJV, the phrase ‘deep sleep’ occurs twice in Daniel and 8 other times in scripture: On all but 2 occasions (Prov 19:15 & Acts 20:9) God is personally involved, as it seems He is here.
(Deep Sleep from the Lord: Gen 2:21 / Gen 15:12 / 1 Sam 26:12 / Job 4:13 / Job 33:15 / Isaiah 29:10 / Daniel 8:18)
The Hebrew word is רָדַם râdam, which occurs 7x (Judges 4:21 / Psalm 76:6 / Prov 10:5 / Dan 8:18 / Dan 10:9 / Jonah 1:5 /Jonah 1:6) and again seems to always be of the Lord.
And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands.
‘an hand’ not ‘His hand’. This is not the same person as in the vision. The vision has now ended and Daniel is back in the real world, by the side of the river, and now an angel touches him and gets him up – well, half way up!
And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.
After what Daniel has been through it must have been very comforting to hear these words ‘o man greatly beloved’. The angel now tells Daniel to stand up properly! (it’s as if the angel, seeing Daniel on all fours, says ‘Get up! You’re embarrassing me!’). Daniel duly obliges, albeit trembling.
This angel, as with Gabriel in chapter 9, had been specifically sent to Daniel.
Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.
It is almost amusing that whenever angels appear in scripture they say ‘fear not’! Maybe they don’t understand us humans, ‘cos most of us would freak out if we saw an angel! Still, it’s a nice gesture to try and calm us before the message is delivered!
As we saw in the last chapter, Gabriel flew swiftly to answer Daniel’s prayer; here we see that God had heard Daniel’s prayer from the first day he started to fast and pray – 21 days ago. Does this then mean that Daniel only needed to ask once? Not at all. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds” (2 Cor 10:4). The spiritual warfare we are engaged in is not just resolved by a single prayer, but requires persistent faithful petition, a sustained attack on the enemy’s position. In James 5:16-18 we read: “….The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.”
The reason for the necessary persistence in prayer will become clear in the next verse.
But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.
This is a glimpse into the unseen spiritual realm that is continually taking place even though we are not often aware of it. The prince of the kingdom of Persia is not Cyrus, or any other Persian ruler, but the satanic spiritual power behind the kingdom. We see this alluded to in Isaiah 14 where the passage starts by addressing the king of Babylon, but then goes far beyond the human king of Babylon to the spiritual power behind him – in that particular case, to Satan himself. The same is true in Ezekiel 28 when the king of Tyre is the initial focus, but soon the passage shifts to address the one pulling the strings in the spiritual realm.
Very often we overlook the influence in our lives of the spiritual realm, but we shouldn’t, because Paul warned us: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [i.e. heavenly] places.” (Eph 6:12) This is not an occasional wrestling, but an every day event. The battle is ultimately for the souls of men, the battle ground is the mind, that is where Satan’s most unassailable strongholds are erected. Paul says that we should be “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor 10:5)
Spiritual warfare is about mind control; if Satan can manipulate our thoughts, causing doubt, fear, discouragement, envy, lust, hatred and the like, he gains a foothold that becomes a foundation for him to build his stronghold upon. If on the other hand we are not conformed to this world, but are transformed by the [continual] renewing of our mind, we will not be subject to Satan but will know what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (cf Rom 12:2).
This is why Paul says we should set our affections on the things above, not on things of the earth (Col 3:2). Peter said: “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;” (1 Peter 1:13). In other words, be careful what you think about and dwell on, be in control of your thought life and don’t allow it to be overrun by emotions and passions; and hang in there until the Day of Christ, when by His grace, the struggle will finally be over.
For now, we are to “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil….Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Eph 6:11, 14-18)
As Chuck Missler points out, you need the armour in place before the battle commences. It is no use trying to put the armour on when you realise you are under attack. Roman soldiers would repair their armour between the battles too, a good lesson for us to take on board. Fellowship, reading the Word, prayer, communion. All of these do wonders for our spiritual armour.
NB: Typically Roman soldiers had no armour for the back – Historians have speculated that this was to discourage retreat and to remind the soldier to never turn their back on the enemy. As believers enlisted in God’s army (2 Tim 2:4) we shouldn’t retreat (backslide/turn our backs on the enemy) either. It is worth noting that we are often at our most vulnerable when we are on our way home after ‘a battle’, when the pressure is off and no one is watching any more. We may have just had a great victory, preached a good sermon, led a great Bible study, witnessed to a friend or colleague, been at a powerful prayer meeting or worship time; but the enemy will be lurking and ready to pounce on the way home. One of his favourite tools is discouragement – ‘no one cares’, ‘what’s the use’, ‘they don’t appreciate me’, ‘after all that effort I’ve made no difference’….etc
Although Daniel may not have understood what was going on in the spiritual realm, he was faithful in prayer. As a result Michael the Archangel (there is only one Archangel), is able to come and assist the other angel in getting through to Daniel. What would have happened if Daniel had given up praying after, say, the 20th day, rather than persisting in prayer?
‘Prayer is God’s way of enlisting us in what He is doing’ – Chuck Missler
Before we move on, and while on the subject of spiritual warfare, it would be helpful to say a few words about one of greatest weapons in the spiritual war – praise. Paul E Billheimer, in his excellent book ‘Destined for the Throne’, underlines just how important praise is: ‘If the highest function of angelic hosts is praise, it follows logically that the highest function of the human spirit must also be praise…[praising God] decentralises self. The worship and praise of God demands a shift of centre from self to God. One cannot praise without relinquishing occupation with self….Praise produces forgetfulness of self – and forgetfulness of self is health…” (p117-118)“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” (Luke 9:24). “There are other reasons why praise is of such supreme importance and why so much larger a portion of the Word is given to praise than to prayer. For some reason, Satan fears praise even more than prayer” (page 119) (cf 2 Chron 20). “God gave to king David such a revelation of the importance and power of praise upon earth that, following the heavenly pattern, he set aside and dedicated an army of four thousand Levites whose sole occupation was to praise the Lord” (1 Chron 23:5) (page 121)….. “In Psalm 22:3 we are told that God “inhabits the praises” of His people. This means that wherever there is adoration, reverence, and acceptable worship and praise, there He identifies and openly manifests His presence. And His presence always expels Satan. Satan cannot operate in the divine presence”(page 120).
Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.
The angel now gives Daniel the outline of the message he is about to deliver (which we will see in chapters 11 and 12) – and once again, it is regarding ‘thy people’ i.e. the Jews… and praise God that He sends His angels to ‘make us understand’! God want’s us to know His Word and what He has revealed about our times and what it to come!
And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb.
Daniel hasn’t been back up very long, and now he’s down again with his face toward the ground. It is amazing how much Daniel saw, observed and recorded that we are now the beneficiaries of; and bear in mind that he is about 85 years old by now.
And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength.
Is seems the vision Daniel refers to, given the context, is the vision of Jesus he had just had. The Hebrew word for vision is ‘Marah’ and means mirror/looking glass/vision. The word for sorrows is ‘tsiyr’ which means pressed or crushed as in a hinge. Thus I believe that Daniel is saying, ‘I have seen myself as I am, and I am crushed’. When we come face to face with Jesus we see ourselves as we really are in contrast to His perfection. The same is true when we look into His Word, it reveals to us who we really are in the light of who God is. It is no coincidence that with the Tabernacle in the Old Testament, the Laver (big bronze bath for the priests to wash in) was made out of the mirrors the Children of Israel had taken out of Egypt. The Laver is analogous to the Word of God. It cleanses by the washing of water but also reflects our true selves back to us. That is why so many are opposed to the Bible. It tells the truth about the human condition; it shows we are not evolving and getting better, we are actually fallen from grace and in need of a Saviour.
It is interesting that, as with Isaiah, this angelic being touches Daniel on the lips, Isaiah said: “Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.” (Isaiah 6:6-7)
For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me.
Daniel, of whom no sin is recorded, is under no illusion. How can one who is unholy talk freely with one who is holy? Praise God that through Jesus “we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need”. “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Heb 4:15-16 / Heb 7:25 / Heb 10:19-22).
So often in scripture God empties individuals of all they have before filling them to overflowing.
Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me,
It is interesting that Daniel is powerless in this spiritual experience until he is strengthened by one like the ‘son of man’. We too are powerless in any spiritual conflict unless we draw our strength form the Son of Man. As Paul urged Timothy, we must “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:1). “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Eph 6:10-11)
Jesus has all we need and can do ‘exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think’, we can have it if we simply go to Him to get it. (cf Eph 3:20).
And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me.
There is a sense of compassion in the angel’s reply: ‘Don’t look at yourself the way you see things, but know how God sees you – a man who is greatly beloved’.
The word ‘peace’ is ‘shalom’ in Hebrew, which comes from the root ‘la shalem’ meaning ‘to pay / to fill / to fulfil. Real peace can only come because Jesus died to pay for our sin, fulfil the law of Moses and fill us with His Holt Spirit. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27). Such words of comfort cannot fail to strengthen us, regardless of the circumstances.
Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.
It is almost as if the angel wants to underline to Daniel just how difficult it has been getting to him, and how hard it is going to be to get back. Clearly from this verse we see that there are spiritual / angelic powers over nations / empires. This has led some to assume that these are the ‘strongholds’ that are spoken about in 2 Corinthians 10:4; and if we pray hard enough against these ‘strongholds’, we can bring them crashing down. This idea is then taken one step further and it is proposed that that the principalities and powers mentioned in Ephesians 6 are different orders of these fallen angelic beings that reign over nations, cities, towns etc. and exert spiritual control over those areas. Thus you will find in many Christian bookstores, books about ‘territorial spirits’ and how we can ‘do battle‘ with them. It was the acceptance of this kind of teaching that led to the numerous prayer-walks and marches that we witnessed during the late 80’s and early 90’s. It was said that if a big enough assault were launched against these territorial spirits, we could ‘bring them down’ i.e. defeat them and destroy their influence. This teaching went hand in hand with the view still being promoted today (under the guise of Purpose Driven, Emerging, Mission Shaped, Alpha, etc.) that the church will destroy all the evil in the world and bring about the kingdom of God on earth. ‘Kingdom Now’, ‘Dominion Theology’ ‘Restorationism’ are some of the more popular names give to this idea that the Church will rule world for Jesus Christ – who according to some, has already returned and is now reigning in the hearts of His people (thus they deny the Rapture, bodily Second Coming of Christ and His Millennial reign on the earth).
Sadly, because some of these ideas have been drawn from a Bible verse or passage – albeit taken out of context – many Christians have been unwittingly caught up in deception and delusion that has actually brought them into bondage by the message that purported to offer them victory. It is very easy to walk into a Christian bookshop and buy books by prominent authors who promote these ideas. What is much harder to find however, are books that deal with what the Bible really says about spiritual warfare. (For a really good, balanced and Biblical study, I recommend “Making War in the Heavenlies” by Pastor Bill Randles (2nd hand copies on Amazon are available for less than £5).
Whilst Ephesians 6 does list differing ranks of spiritual beings, and whilst they may have authority over nations, cities, towns, etc. NOWHERE in the Bible is the Church told to attack and ‘bring down’ these fallen angels. The only occasion in scripture where one of these ‘principalities’ is seen to be removed, is in this verse (Daniel 10:20). And far from improving the spiritual climate, we find that an even stronger principality comes in his place, namely the ‘Prince of Greece’. Yet many who engage in this ‘spiritual warfare’ go as far as openly taunting these angelic beings. It is interesting to note what Jude said: “Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.” (Jude v8-10). If the Archangel Michael didn’t hurl insults at Satan, then it would probably be wise for us not to do so either! (I’m guessing that Michael knows more about spiritual warfare than you or I!)
But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.
Has the angel already read what is going to happen? Did he get a sneak preview before the ‘film’ was released? Why else would this angel say that what he is about to tell Daniel is noted in the ‘established and faithful writing’.
David said: “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.” (Ps 119:89)
In Revelation we read: “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world” (Rev 17:8) For the names to be in the book from the foundation of the world, the book itself must have existed from that time.
Therefore, could it be that the angel is actually reading the written Word of God and relaying it to Daniel in advance?!
Michael is always seen to be fighting on behalf of Israel. Thus it would seem that Israel, i.e. God’s land that He has entrusted to the Jews, is the only place in the world that has a godly angel protecting it. This is stark contrast to the rest of the world, which is under the sway of the wicked one (1 John 5:19).
As we move into the next chapter we will find out what the angel was actually sent to tell Daniel…
May you be blessed and encouraged by this study.
For more information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org