This chapter is an odd one, because it is only an introduction to the chapter that follows. No details are given in this chapter of the vision itself.
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.
This period refers to the third year of Persian rule over Babylon and other occupied countries. Daniel, mentioning his Chaldean name, Belteshazzar, now gives details of another vision that was to do with the future, hence “the time appointed was long”. Daniel says he understood the vision given to him.
In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks.
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.
And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel;
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:
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.
Daniel was “in mourning” for “three full weeks” before he had this final vision (which takes us to the end of the book). In this text ‘mourning’, ‘abal, means to lament, or ‘to walk with the head cast down’. He was so depressed (a word I now use descriptively, not in its ‘clinical’ sense), that he did not eat. Nor did he drink wine, though he was quite elderly. (Yes, it means alcoholic wine). Nor did he ‘anoint’ himself. That is, after bathing he did not anoint himself with oil, common with Hebrews.
He met a man in the “four and twentieth day of the first month” and so this makes it very specific in terms of history. Daniel was standing on the banks of the “great river, which is Hiddekel” (rapid). This is one of the rivers of Eden, the Tigris. It flowed eastwards to Assyria.
He looked up and saw a man in linen, and whose lower garment or girdle was made of “fine gold of Ophaz”. The linen was fine and white, as the word bad signifies. ‘Fine gold’, kethem, means pure gold. Uphaz (desire of fine gold) was famed for the mining of the best quality gold.
The man’s body was “like the beryl” or tarshiysh. A beryl was a semi-precious gem, coloured like the sky. His face had the “appearance of lightning” – it was of a strikingly illuminous and dramatic look, very bright. The man’s eyes bore through any who looked upon his face. His arms and feet were the colour of polished brass. In this text ‘brass’ means copper or bronze, and when he spoke it sounded like the voices of a multitude, very loud and enough to cut through anything.
Who would look like that? An angel? Or, was it the Christ? In my view, only Christ could be that man, but this is only my view, because an illustrious Gabriel could also be the ‘certain man’. For purposes of this study we will assume him to be Christ, to avoid confusion. However, if it is Gabriel it would necessarily change certain interpretations… though the changes would not alter the meanings of the words.
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.
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.
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.
Was this a reward to Daniel for his faithfulness? Probably, because Daniel said the men around him did not see Christ, but only experienced a fearful shaking. They saw nothing but may have heard the loudness of the voice. It was, then, very similar to the vision of Christ Paul had on the road to Damascus.
Few men have such a visitation and, dare I say it, few men are worthy to have one. That includes myself. How many of us stand before God as worthy? None. How many are faithful fully? Few.
The men ran away and hid in absolute fear, leaving Daniel alone. He was so afraid of what he say, he was left weak and lifeless, and fell to the ground in a sleep, his ‘comeliness’ or person was ‘destroyed’ or made unable to respond.
And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb.
Daniel then felt a hand touching him and pulling him up onto his hands and knees. Then, Christ spoke to him, telling him he was greatly loved by God; he must listen and understand, and stand up, because He, the Lord, was sent to speak to him. So, Daniel stood up, with great fear and trembling.
Christ told Daniel not to be afraid, because God had observed him repenting for himself and the nation of Hebrews, and so the Father sent the Son. Note that “I am come for thy words”. The words of Daniel and his prayers were those words given to him by the Holy Spirit, and because this is a sign of obedience, Christ was sent by the Father to speak with him. His words, then, had an effect, because God had given them to him in the first place. This is true prayer and it is always answered.
Most of the ‘prayers’ uttered by today’s Christians are false, because they are simply human-devised. And that is why we see so few ‘answers’. Rather, Christians tend to ‘pray’ because it is expected of them. In particular they do so in organized prayer meetings, when, in reality, we cannot organise God to listen to our prayers, nor can we call upon Him unless He has commanded us to do so. Few Christians understand this basic principle of prayer, but they keep on trying to pray when they have no heart for it, and God has not prompted them to do so. Their prayers are just ‘fillers’, a pretence.
The Lord told Daniel that all the time he spent praying to God, three weeks, He had been battling against the king of Persia, who was determined to oppose the Hebrews still in Israel. The arch-angel, Michael (‘who is like God’), joined him in the battle, which was spiritual. Michael had the job of protecting the Israelites in time of real affliction. As soon as this battle was finished, Christ came to see Daniel.
This is something to bear in mind; that Christ may not come to help us immediately because of another thing He has to do. In this case, he was with an arch-angel at another ‘battle front’. We simply do not know why answers to prayers are seemingly late or not given yet, even when we are sincere and repentant. However, the Lord knows our circumstance and will come to our side, at the time appointed (which is never late!). It is no bad thing that we have to wait, for it strengthens our resolve to seek the Lord, and the answers, when they come, will be better, and more gratefully, received.
Christ told Daniel He had come to let him know what would happen to the people of Israel in the future (“the vision [is] for [many] days”). Daniel lay his face to the ground and “became dumb”, unable to speak. Any visitation of Christ in this divine way must have a similar effect on the one who sees Him (which is always now in a vision, if at all). Those who claim to see Jesus regularly are liars, their very ease proving it is not real.
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.
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.
Again, an angel who looked like a man came and touched him on the lips, so that he could speak. Daniel told him the vision left him weak and sorrowful. How can I talk with the Lord God in this way, he asked, when I am so weakened and with little breath?
Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me,
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.
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.
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.
As soon as Daniel made this comment, the angel/Christ touched him again, and Daniel regained his strength. Why was this done? It is possible that God wanted Daniel to fully understand that his very life was in God’s hands, and only He can give bodily strength and the ability to act and speak on behalf of Him.
Christ gave Daniel the best of assurances, when He said “O man greatly beloved…” How many of us can warrant such an assurance? Do not be afraid, He said again, know peace and be strong! And Daniel was immediately stronger. Daniel then said ‘Speak, Lord – I am now strong enough to hear’. Christ replied, ‘Do you know why I am here? I must now return to my fight against the king of Persia. And soon the prince of Grecia shall come (Alexander, as prophesied in Daniel’s previous vision)’. ‘I will’, said Christ, ‘show you what scripture already says, and only Michael the arch-angel will prevail alongside me’. The actual vision is found in the final chapters.
© January 2010
Published on www.christiandoctrine.com
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