Daniel Chapter 10: Daniel’s Fasting, Gabriel’s Visit, Prince of Persia

Nov 22nd, 2009 | By | Category: Daniel, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Daniel Chapter 10: Daniel’s Fasting, Gabriel’s Visit, Prince of Persia

Dan. 10:1 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.

Dan. 10:2 In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks.

Dan. 10:3 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.

In verses 1-3, the point that stands out is Daniel’s mourning and fasting for three whole weeks.

He ate no “pleasant bread” or “flesh” and drank no wine (water is not mentioned). Moreover,  he was in such a distraught condition that he disregarded his personal appearance.

This time setting is stated as the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia. According to secular history, Cyrus ruled nine years. Actually he ruled only seven years, for secular history attributes the two years of Darius the Mede to Cyrus’s reign. At any rate, with this being the third year of his reign, it means that Daniel was at least 107 years old at this time.

Comment: Daniel was taken captive at about age 16 in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, so that would be 7 to 8 more years plus 11 years of Zedekiah, 70 years of Babylonian captivity, and 2 full years of Cyrus—for a total of 107 years (16 + 8 + 11 + 70 + 2). (The two years of the reign of Darius are included in the 70 years’ desolation period.)

Reply: Yes, and we do not know when he died, so he would have lived even longer.

Comment: It is interesting that verse 1 does not just say “the time appointed was long” but certifies the time period with “the thing was true.” We are reminded of Habakkuk 2:3, “For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” The Lord’s people often have a test of time.

Reply: Daniel knew the time was long because two time periods had been mentioned: the 70 weeks and especially the 2,300 days. To think that 2,300 years must elapse before fulfillment greatly disturbed Daniel. Thus he received some consolation when God gave him the prophecy of 70 weeks (490 years). However, he was still disturbed because 490 years is also a long time to wait. In the narrative, the time periods continued to bother Daniel up until Chapter 12, when God gave him a parting blessing: “I have to put you to sleep, but when the time comes, I will remember you and call you forth from the grave.”

Q: Instead of “the time appointed was long” in verse 1, the Masoretic text has “even a great warfare.” Which is correct?

A: The thought in the King James is accurate. Compare the Stone edition of the Tanach, which is the Masoretic: “but for a long time off.”

Q: Verse 1 says that Daniel “understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.” Did he pray and fast for three full weeks for further understanding?

A: Yes, he was hungering for truth. He understood that the 2,300 days were really 2,300 years and that the 70 weeks were actually 490 years, but he wanted to know more about these appointed time periods that were so long. How remarkable that the Lord gave Daniel such information!

Q: Since Daniel did not eat meat, what is the “flesh” he abstained from for three weeks?

A: In the series of offerings presented in the second chapter of Leviticus, cereal and grain offerings are discussed, but they are called a “meat” offering in the Old English of 1611. Thus the word “meat” also had the connotation of “food” of one kind or another (cereal, vegetables, meat). A “meat offering” was really a “meal [or cereal] offering.” Here “flesh” would be similar in that it means “food.”

Q: What is the “pleasant bread” Daniel did not eat?

A: It would be sweets, delicacies, even fruit. In other words, Daniel did not eat for three whole weeks. This fact is recorded to give credibility to what he is about to say and to show his condition of sincere hungering. God rewarded him accordingly. Of course Daniel would have prayed earnestly during those three weeks—he fasted and prayed.

Dan. 10:4 And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel;

The “great river” Hiddekel is the Tigris River, originally called the Tekel. In many foreign languages, the Anglicized “t” becomes a “d.” Depending on the language, the letters “d,” “dt,” and “t” are all the same as consonants. “Hiddekel” in Chaldaic means “active, vehement, rapid” (that is, swift like an arrow). On a map of that part of the world, the two rivers that stand out are the Tigris and the Euphrates, both being “great” and long. Of the two, the Euphrates is longer, but it moves more slowly because of its greater volume. Thus in antitype, the Euphrates is considered the “great” river, numerically speaking, and pictures the world of mankind.

Why was Daniel “by the side of the great river”? Sitting beside a brook in the woods with no distractions is conducive to meditation. Acts 16:13,14 speaks of Lydia of Thyatira being at the riverside, a place “where prayer was wont to be made.” Apparently, Daniel was praying here when the angel Gabriel appeared to him (verse 5).

In the future when the Book of Daniel is considered from a historical standpoint, the date, the twenty-fourth day of the first month, will have significance.

Dan. 10:5 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:

Based on Chapter 9, we know that the “certain man clothed in linen” was Gabriel, an angel assuming human form. The white linen symbolizes purity and righteousness. His “loins [from the waist down to the knees] were girded with fine gold of Uphaz.” Hence the linen garment was a robe, an outer garment, so if Gabriel moved and his legs were exposed, gold was seen.

In regard to “Uphaz,” Isaiah 13:12 reads, “I will make a man[‘s life] more precious than fine gold; … than the golden wedge of Ophir.” The Chaldaic Uphaz is another form of the Aramaic word Ophir. This particular fine gold came from a portion of Turkey. There are different types of gold: American, Mexican, Korean, etc. The difference is in the sheen. The Uphaz, or Ophir, type of gold must have been a glazed, shiny gold to make it very striking in appearance.

Dan. 10:6 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.

“His body also was like the beryl” means the appearance of his flesh was like beryl, and the word “beryl” is usually chrysolite, which is gold in color. This was a glorified being in the sense that the angel was a messenger from the other world, from the Twilight Zone, as it were, in human guise and attired in a white linen robe and gold-colored clothing similar to his flesh.

When Daniel looked at the flesh part of this being, it was like chrysolite, “chryso” being “gold” and “lithos” being “stone.” Thus chrysolite is a golden stone and also a symbol of wisdom.

“His face [was] as the appearance of lightning.” The Greek astrape in the New Testament, sometimes translated “lightning,” means “bright shining.” The word translated “lightning” here in Daniel 10:6 is the Hebrew equivalent. Gabriel’s face shone forth with light. In other words, although the being had the body of a human, Daniel knew he was no ordinary person.

“And his eyes as lamps of fire.” The eyes were more electric, as in Revelation 1:14, where Jesus is spoken of as having a penetrating gaze (“eyes as a flame of fire”); that is, Jesus can see through any sham, hypocrisy, or mere formalism.

“His arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass.” Brass, chrysolite, and lamps of fire, as well as the clothing, produced a basic coloration of white and gold. “Polished brass” has a high shine that is retained for a long time, especially if lacquered.

“The voice of his words like the voice of a multitude [many people].” How powerful Scripture is if we take the time to reflect! Daniel knew this was a superhuman being who possessed power and intelligence and would be a source of true information.

Dan. 10:7 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.

“I Daniel alone saw the vision.” Daniel had men with him, sitting by the river, but only he saw the vision. At this time, he was still revered for his position in the empire—he was still in a role of authority—although maybe not as high under Cyrus as under Darius the Mede and Nebuchadnezzar.

“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.” Animals sometimes sense and tremble over things we cannot hear. Feeling a mysterious presence, a strong electrical energy with sort of a magnetic throbbing, the men were frightened and “fled to hide themselves.” They saw nothing, but something frightened them.

Dan. 10:8 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.

When Daniel was left alone and saw the “great vision” of Gabriel, his “comeliness” turned “into corruption.” Daniel was no doubt chosen for positions because of his wisdom, tact, and bearing. He must have been very unusual—a man of dignity, culture, reverence, and principle. However, all of this melted in the presence of this vision, and especially when the glorious being approached to communicate with him. Daniel “retained no strength.”

Angels can appear in human form either in a very striking fashion or just like an ordinary person. The fact that “some have entertained angels unawares” indicates they can appear as a normal human and without a powerful presence that knocks a person down (Heb. 13:2).

Dan. 10:9 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.

Gabriel’s voice was perhaps a deep rumble. People can be hypnotized by the sound of a voice, but of course sight and sound are both involved in hypnosis. When Daniel heard Gabriel’s words, he went into a deep sleep with his face toward the ground. He was lost, as it were, with no strength.

Comment: Daniel fell forward in humility, as opposed to falling backward.

Dan. 10:10 And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands.

Dan. 10:11 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.

A hand touched Daniel with electric power and raised him to a position from which he could conveniently arise. The palms of his hands and his knees were down, and then Gabriel told him to “stand upright.” Daniel complied but stood shaking and trembling.

And what did Gabriel say? “O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee.” Three times he called Daniel “greatly beloved” (Dan. 9:23; 10:11,19). Not all people who fast are “greatly beloved.” Hence the motive behind the fasting is the determining factor. Jesus said, “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast” (Matt. 6:16). The hypocrites fasted publicly, letting their fasting be known, whereas fasting should be a quiet type of sacrifice unbeknownst to men.

“For unto thee am I now sent.” This GREAT being, who would just knock one out with his presence and charisma, was sent to give Daniel information. Think of the authority behind that being—the FATHER HIMSELF! GOD sent Gabriel.

Dan. 10:12 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.

Daniel may have fasted for 21 days, but from the very first day he began that fast, Gabriel was commissioned to bring him a message. In subsequent verses, Gabriel will tell why it took 21 days for him to get to Daniel.

Dan. 10:13 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.

“The prince of the kingdom of Persia” was Satan himself, the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4).

Persia was the world power at that time.

Q: How do we know that Satan was the prince of Persia?

A: If Daniel was knocked out by the presence of Gabriel, would Cyrus have been any different? And Cyrus was not even a holy man. Cyrus would have been knocked out too. It would be impossible for anyone down here to withstand an angel. Satan is called the “prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2). Therefore, Gabriel was withstood, was withheld from his mission, by one more powerful than himself. Gabriel was struggling to get down to Daniel to communicate with him, but he could not get loose from the prince of Persia until Michael, a being more powerful than Gabriel, came to his aid.

Comment: Another clue as to the identity of the “prince … of Persia” is the last term in the verse, “kings [plural] of Persia,” that is, other fallen angels. Since there is only one king on the throne at a time, the plural term indicates the fallen angels are also superior beings who interfere.

Reply: It does not make sense that any human being would be a match for an angel, let alone Gabriel. No human can withstand a spirit being.

Comment: Jude 9 mentions Michael: “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses.”

Reply: That is a good illustration. The subject is different, but the principle is the same. Comment: In Daniel 10:21, Michael is also called a “prince.”

Reply: The nominal systems say that one criterion for identifying a cult is the belief that Michael was Jesus in his prehuman existence as the Logos.

Q: Who do the nominal systems say Michael was?

A: They do not have a good explanation but just say Michael was another being. And that is often the case with those who denounce the truth. They have no explanation. The point is that  certain phrases and words have a repelling effect on the feelings of those who are warned along these lines.

The sermons of nominal preachers are generally on morals, not prophecy. When they do speak on prophecy, the man of sin is usually identified as a literal person (or even the devil himself) instead of Papacy. And they think the Temple will be literally rebuilt for a literal man of sin to appear in. When the context is reasoned on, such explanations are way out.

“Michael, one of the chief princes.” The translation should say, “Michael, the chief of the princes.” In other words, there were two chief princes or archangels: the Logos and Lucifer. When Lucifer lost his position because of a wrong heart condition, he was demoted to Satan. “Arch” means “beginning,” “first.” Gabriel was saying that Michael, the first of the chief princes, the primary one of the two, came to help him. “And I remained there with the kings of Persia,” that is, with satellite beings, with Satan’s retinue. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood [merely], but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12). The “kings of Persia” were some of those principalities, who helped to withstand Gabriel when he was on his way to Daniel. Gabriel was explaining the reason for his delay and also the reason for his coming.

Dan. 10:14 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 purpose of Gabriel’s coming was to elaborate on the previous vision of earlier chapters, which had so disturbed Daniel. Gabriel would now give further enlightenment.

Dan. 10:15 And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb.

When Gabriel had spoken, Daniel set his face toward the ground and became dumb. This verse, among others, shows the powerful presence and authority of Gabriel, who is very high in the hierarchy of God.

Dan. 10:16 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.

Who is the “one like the similitude of the sons of men” who touched Daniel’s lips? Earlier we were impressed with how greatly honored Daniel was: “O Daniel, a man greatly beloved!”

God had great respect for this imperfect human being down here—for his devotion, his consecration, his fasting, etc. Now we are seeing Daniel in a dumb and overwhelmed state.

Earlier he was scarcely able to take in what was happening because he was overawed by the messenger who had come to explain the vision. But now something happened on the side.

This “one like the similitude of the sons of men” who touched Daniel’s lips seems to be another individual. Like John the Baptist and Elijah, Daniel represents a class at the end of the Gospel Age—the consecrated, the Lord’s informed people. This man who touched the lips of Daniel enabled the prophet (the Daniel class) to speak. Daniel did not know if the individual was an angel or a human, for the form, or appearance, was that of a normal human being. The being could have been supernatural. At any rate, the spiritual antitype is an individual the Lord has used in the Harvest period, that is, the Pastor, the dispensational servant. Sometimes God uses a human agency to enlighten his people.

Comment: Even though Gabriel was an angel, he was called a “certain man” in verse 5.

Reply: That is why in the type, Daniel did not know whether the second being was human or angelic.

Comment: So far in this chapter, then, we have Gabriel and one like a son of man.

Reply: Yes, two beings had the similitude of the sons of men. When the second one touched Daniel’s lips, Daniel was able to speak.

Comment: This second individual cannot be the Logos because Michael is spoken of in verses 13 and 21. Thus Michael is in the picture but as still another separate being.

Reply: That is correct. Michael is an abstract presence, not a personalized presence.

Comment: In verse 21, a personalized presence speaks about Michael.

Dan. 10:17 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 asked, “For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord?” The visions of the 2,300 days and the 70 weeks were still troubling Daniel.

Dan. 10:18 Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me,

The “one like the appearance of a man” was Gabriel again, but now he was in a subdued form so that he could communicate with Daniel in a more rational and quiet manner. (In other words, this was not the same being who had touched Daniel’s lips and enabled him to speak in verse 16.) Now Gabriel strengthened Daniel with a corroboration of truth. The principle is the same with us; namely, when we have a “thus saith the LORD” and another “thus saith the LORD,” we are strengthened.

Dan. 10:19 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.

Dan. 10:20 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.

Gabriel was speaking in this verse, saying he would “return to fight with the prince of Persia,”

who is Satan. This is interesting because in coming to Daniel, Gabriel was withstood for 21 days until Michael the prince assisted, enabling him to accomplish his mission.

“And when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.” After fighting with the prince of Persia, Gabriel would have to fight with the “prince of Grecia,” also a reference to Satan. This change of names for Satan shows the succession of world empires. Satan was the prince of Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece, and Rome. As history progresses, the god of this world just changes to a different driver’s seat, as it were. Incidentally, the Media-Persian Empire lasted only about 200 years, for Cyrus issued his decree in 536 BC and the Grecian Empire began around 330 BC. The Grecian Empire did not last long either.

Dan. 10:21 But I will show 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.

Gabriel continued to talk: “There is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.” What did Gabriel mean? No other angels except Michael (and Gabriel) would be able to even try to withstand Satan. Michael was present but not revealed. At the time of this vision, Gabriel and Michael were both down here, but Daniel was conversing with Gabriel, who was talking about Michael. Satan is the god of this world, and Gabriel came down to this world to talk with Daniel. Of all the angels down here in earth’s atmosphere, Gabriel and Michael were the only two prominent holy authorities. Of course Satan has cohorts and an echelon of authority in the spiritual realm. On the earthly plane, the Papacy is Satan’s masterpiece because of the whole chain of command: priests, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, and the pope. There are different strata of authority. Thus when Gabriel said that none could contend, he was not talking about just the Adversary, the prince of this world, but was referring to those in Satan’s higher echelon. And Gabriel is in the higher echelon of God, but he is not an archangel because only Michael and Lucifer were the original archangels. It would seem that Gabriel is due for promotion—as well as Daniel.

Satan is limited to a certain extent because men, even evil men, are free moral agents. Because Satan is in tartaroo, he cannot absolutely control everything. Satan is active in the spirit realm but not personally down here. If he were not in tartaroo, couldn’t he come down and materialize in human form like Gabriel and exercise his power? When Gabriel came down from heaven and was withstood for 21 days, the barrier was in earth’s atmosphere. He was intercepted at the last moment from contacting Daniel.

Comment: Several times the chapter uses the word “prince”: the prince of Persia, the prince of Grecia, and Michael, one of the chief princes. The last verse ends up with the touching personal expression to Daniel: “Michael your prince.”

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