Just as the vision of Daniel 7 clarifies and expands on the vision given in Daniel 1, the final vision of Daniel 10-12 likewise provides a more detailed explanation of the vision in Daniel 8. This is an example of the principle called “the progressive revelation of God” which is found in Scripture as a whole, but in this case, where God’s prophetic Word is concerned. What is revealed never erases or nullifies what came before, but always builds on and therefore supplements it with more detail and specifics.
Daniel 10-12 is a single, complete message where Daniel 10 can be thought of as the introduction or prologue, Daniel 11 as the body of the main message, and Daniel 12 as the closing or epilogue. Just as we learned in the study on Daniel 9, skipping past the introduction to go directly to the main prophetic text can affect the very important context of the prophetic information and the greater accompanying message.
As with all prophetic passages of God’s Word, there is a critical relationship between what is taking place in heaven and how it is realized in the earthly realm. (Job 1:7; 2:1; Zech. 3:1-2; Rev 12:7) For instance, the appearance and actions of both Michael and Gabriel at this juncture is directly connected to their corresponding appearances and activities in the New Testament.
A lesson we can glean from this chapter is valuable in and of itself in that it continues to teach us how true prophets act and react when experiencing an authentic revelation from God, something conspicuously absent from the myriad of historical and present-day counterfeits.
Read verse 1
Q: What might be significant about this date?
A: It is 2 years after the king’s decree sent Jews back to Israel to restore the Temple. The beginning of the end of the Babylonian Captivity was well under way, which Daniel perceived in chapter 9.
Q: So why would this divine message build upon and support that given in Daniel 8-9?
A: Whereas he timing of the First Coming of the Messiah was previously provided, this vision will elaborate more on the Second Coming.
Q: So how would that relate to what was now taking place to fulfill God’s prophetic Word concerning Israel?
A: The final fulfillment of God’s plan is not to simply return Israel to the land and reconstruct the Temple, nor does it conclude with the first arrival of the Messiah, but extends to Christ’s Second Coming.
Point: We can now see why the Holy Spirit did not inspire Daniel to record his experiences chronologically as they were revealed in real time to him, but organized this book in the order of each progressive vision which dovetails with and expands on each other.
Application: God’s whole plan involves one Messiah, two comings.
Read verses 2-9
Q: Why is Daniel mourning? Shouldn’t he be celebrating Israel’s return to the land?
A: It is a continuation of Daniel 9 where he was in prayer and mourning, having realized from reading Jeremiah that the Babylonian Captivity was about to expire but that Israel, as a people, were not spiritually right with the Lord.
Point: The books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther record that the majority of Israelites did not choose to return to the land at this time but remained dispersed throughout the known world; only a remnant returned. There were great spiritual problems among God’s people even though the fulfillment of previous visions was underway.
Q: How does the underlying Hebrew for “three weeks” consistently fit with the whole book of Daniel where timespans are concerned?
A: It is literally stated as “three weeks of days”, just as the overall text uses “weeks of years”. It Is not an approximation, but precisely occurred after 21 days.
Point: Unless specifically excepted, expressions of time in Scripture are always literal.
Q: What is the Hebrew calendar’s first month? What might be significant about the overall timing for this vision?
A: The first month is Nissan, which by ourcalendar is roughly mid-March to mid-April, during which Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are celebrated.
Point: These events are strongly associated with God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt, but to Daniel is being revealed the ultimate and final deliverance of the whole world. We see the fulfillment of these feasts in the First Coming and to Daniel is shown their ultimate fulfillment in the Second Coming.
Q: What does it mean in v.5, “I lifted my eyes and looked”?
A: This is a Hebrew idiom expressing the fact that Daniel was specifically looking for a response from God.
Point: In Daniel 9, he was in prayer and mourning but not actively seeking a revelation from God even though he was provided with such; here he desires a response and is actively looking for it.
Q: To help us identify this “certain man”, are there other figures in Scripture designated as being “dressed in linen”?
Priests (Ex. 28:42; Lev. 6:10, 16:4; Heb. 6:3)
An angel in Ezekiel (Eze. 9:2-3, 11; 10:2, 6-7)
The seven angels of the seven Bowls (Rev. 15:6)
Q: Want is most significant about the linen garment?
A: It is white to indicate purity according to God’s standard.
Q: Who is also depicted in Scripture as having a “white robe”?
Saints in heaven (Rev. 3:5; 6:11; 7:9, 13)
God Himself (Dan. 7:9)
Q: But how do the further attributes listed in v.5-6 narrow our understanding that this is an Old Testament Christophany—that is, an appearance of Christ?
A: There is a very close correspondence to Christ’s appearance to the Apostle John in Revelation 1:
“dressed in linen”
“clothed in a robe”
“belt of pure gold”
“girded across His chest…a golden sash”
“head and…hair…white…like snow”
“appearance of lightning”
“face…like the sun shining”
“eyes like flaming torches”
“eyes like a flame of fire”
“arms and feet like…polished bronze”
“feet were like burnished bronze”
“sound of his words like…tumult”
“voice…like the sound of many waters”
Q: But what is the most revealing aspect which provides the overwhelming evidence this is not just another messenger sent from God but an appearance of Christ Himself?
A: Daniel’s reaction. It is something experienced by those who come into the presence of God and specifically mirrored in the experience by the Apostle John.
When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,
Q: How is Daniel’s reaction contrasted to that of those accompanying him in v.7?
A: While Daniel “alone saw the vision”, the others only heard “words like the sound of tumult” which produced a “great dread” and the instinct to immediately run away.
Point: This is very similar to the Apostle Paul’s experience on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:7; 22:11) and parallels that of Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:8). It is also the reaction of those rejecting God when faced with the reality of God in Revelation 6:16 and even similar to that of Abraham. (Gen. 15:12)
Q: Why do you suppose these men had a far different reaction than Daniel?
A: Unlike Daniel, they have not prepared themselves spiritually through prayer and fasting nor are seeking a divine response.
Q: Where the sudden appearance of Christ is concerned, how does this parallel what we know about His Second Coming?
A: No one knows the precise hour or day, but adherents of God’s Word are supposed to know the season and understand all the signs pointing to His imminent return. Daniel represents believers aware and looking for Christ, his companions like all others who are unprepared and taken by surprise.
4But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; 5for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; 6so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.
1 Thessalonians 5:4-6
Point: This Is a vignette of the Second Coming when only those who are properly prepared will experience the liberating presence of Christ while all others will cower in fear and attempt to escape.
15Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 16and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
Application: Even those properly and spiritually prepared are humbled in the presence of Christ much less those who are not, because believers are aware and looking for His imminent arrival but everyone else is unaware and overwhelmed.
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.
Read verses 10-14
Q: Hold on…if the figure in 10:5 is an appearance of Christ, why do these verses speak instead of an angelic being?
A: It is the introduction of an angelic being who will communicate Christ’s message. At the conclusion in Daniel 12:5 it mentions Christ being accompanied by two others.
Point: This is exactly the same experience of the Apostle John. He was first visited by Christ, but often refers to the fact that an angelic being is disclosing the “Revelation of Jesus Christ” to John.
2For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, 3how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, 4God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.
you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it.”
And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true”; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place.
Angels have a unique role in communicating the words and messages of the Godhead directly to mankind. Christ’s personal appearance in the course of these situations confirms the authenticity of the message and the authority of Christ to convey that message.
Q: What are the two conditions Daniel met which prepared him for this experience?
A: Daniel “set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God”. (v.12)
Application: True understanding of God’s Word is inseparable from a right relationship with Christ. Such are considered by God to be “highly esteemed”. (v.11)
Q: How might we apply the fact that a divine response was sent to Daniel on the very first day of his prayer and fasting but did not arrive until 21 days later?
A: We are to always submit to God’s timing. Just because it does not happen immediately does not mean God is unresponsive.
Q: What is significant about the fact that it was Michael who came to the aid of this angel in v.12?
A: Michael is specified in Scripture as “the great prince who stands guard over” Israel (Dan. 12:1) and Daniel is interceding on behalf of Israel.
Q: What is the basic spiritual concept affirmed for us by the angelic being who was detained?
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Q: Many commentators suggest that “the prince of the kingdom of Persia” is probably Satan himself. Why might that be reasonably considered?
A: In Revelation 12, it is Michael who leads the successful effort to cast Satan and his demons out of heaven and down to earth. That it would take the archangel himself to free Daniel’s angelic messenger hints that more than just an ordinary demon was at work.
Q: How do we know for sure that the vision pertains to the Second Coming?
A: That is the meaning of “in the latter days”. (v.14) It was not for Daniel’s time or the first visit of Christ but a revelation of the conclusion to all things.
Application: That which is initiated and transpires in the heavenly realm is reflected in parallel in the earthly realm. In both realms it is Satan’s intention to prevent God’s Word from being delivered.
Read verses 15-19
Q: How would you characterize Daniel’s condition?
A: He was helpless (“I have retained no strength”) and “speechless” which he attributed to his overall “anguish”.
Q: What difference does Daniel recognize between himself and this angelic messenger?
A: The use of “lord” in all lower case is really the English equivalent of “sir” and not the name of God as indicated by “Lord” in our Bible. But Daniel does refer to himself as “a servant of my lord” (v.16) to acknowledge the angel’s superior standing.
Q: What was the encouragement given Daniel?
“…do not be afraid.”
“Peace be with you…”
“…take courage and be courageous!”
Application: There is no threat or even negative consequences for those in a right relationship with God. Even though they may experience the same emotions as Daniel’s companions who ran away, the believer is divinely supported so as to be able to stand, hear, and understand God’s Word.
Read verses 20-21
Q: Why does the angel make reference to Persia and Greece?
A: A partial fulfillment of the visions in Daniel 2 and 7 have already taken place with the rise of Persia, and the next imminent fulfillment is the rise of Greece. It indicates that the vision is not for events in the immediate future of God’s prophetic plan but for the “latter days”.
Q: How do we know what is probably involved in the “fight against the prince of Persia” ?
A: It is not just that Persia acts in the character of Antichrist against the whole world, but during the historical Persia’s reign Scripture records the struggle to rebuild the Temple, rebuild Jerusalem, and particularly in the book of Esther, the premeditated attempt to exterminate all Jews.
Q: What is particularly highlighted in v.21 as to the source of the angel’s message?
A: It “is inscribed in the writing of truth”. It is not just spoken words from God, but permanently recorded.
Application: The earthly is always a reflection of the heavenly; even God’s written Word is established both in heaven and on earth and both among angels and men.
Q: How does this beginning in Daniel 10 find a bookend at the end of the vision in Daniel 12?
A: Daniel is given and understands this revelation because he is spiritually prepared and in a right relationship with God; in Daniel 12 it is specified that those who will understand in the latter days will likewise “lead the many to righteousness” (Dan. 12:3), and even more pointedly, “none of the wicked will understand”. (Dan. 12:10)
Application: The biblical wisdom necessary for understanding God’s Word, whether given in advance or experiencing its fulfillment, comes to those who put His Word into practice so as to attain biblical righteousness.
The Three Viewpoints
There are three times when Christ has provided a detailed revelation as to what, exactly, remained to be fulfilled in God’s prophetic plan.
Through Daniel was given the plan from Israel’s perspective of one Messiah, two comings.
Through the Olivet Discourse was given the plan for the Second Coming from the Church’s perspective.
Through John in Revelation was provided not only all that remained to fulfill both previous viewpoints, but filled in the gaps so that the previous two could be seen as simply different aspects of the same overall plan.
Each subsequent viewpoint incorporates and expands on the previous. Nothing has ever been superseded, changed, or become obsolete but elegantly integrated everything into “the writing of truth”.