The Prophecy of Daniel
Lesson Number 30
TRANSLATION LEGEND: ASV=American Standard Version (1901), BBE=Bible in Basic English (1949), DRA=Douay-Rheims (1899), ESV=English Stand
Version (2001), KJV=King James Version (1611), NKJV=New King James Version (1982), NAB=New American Bible, NASB=New American Standard
Bible (1977), NAU=New American Standard Bible (1995), NIB=New International Bible, NIV=New International Version (1984), NJB=New Jerusalem
Bible, NLT=New Living Translation, NRSV=New Revised Standard Version (1989), RSV=Revised Standard Version (1952), TNK=JPS Tanakj (1985),
YLT-Young’s Literal Translation (1862).
A SPECIAL THING IS
REVEALED TO DANIEL
“ 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. 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. 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; 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: 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 color to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.
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. 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. 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.” KJV (Dan 10:1-9)
Because Daniel is “greatly beloved,” the Living God has vouchsafed to him
insight concerning the coming Redeemer. Looming on the horizon One was coming
who would lay down His life a ransom for many. He would do so in a timely manner,
or in the fulness of the time. He would bring to an end the administration of the First
Covenant, which was “weak through the flesh” (Rom 8:3) – a covenant which,
though given by God Almighty, left Him “finding fault” with those with whom it was
made (Heb 8:8).
Daniel is told that the coming Messiah would be “cut off” four hundred and
eighty-seven years from the command to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple – in the
middle of the seventy-week prophecy given to him. Commensurate with that
appointed death, sacrifices and Temple statutes that were ordained of God ceased.
The statutes themselves had been in force for 1,500 years. Bloody sacrifices had been
in place from the beginning of time. The first animal sacrifice was made by God
Himself, in order that He might give to Adam and Eve “coats of skin” (Gen 3:21).
The first recorded sacrifice made by a man was that of Abel (Gen 4:4). That sacrifice
is said to have been respected, or regarded, by the God of heaven. For nearly four
thousand years, animal sacrifices continued, being offered by every person who had
faith in God. Prior to the Law these included Noah (Gen 8:20), Abraham (Gen 15:9-10; 22:13), Isaac (Gen 26:25), and Jacob (Gen 31:54; 46:1). From the time of the
exodus, and under the Law, animal sacrifices increased in both their number and the
times in which they were offered. But when the life of Jesus was “cut off,” the
entire sacrificial system – ordained by God – was abruptly terminated. They were
replaced by the superior sacrifice what God had appointed before the foundation of
the world. He caused “the sacrifice and the oblation to cease” (9:27). He then
“confirmed” a “better covenant, established upon better promises” (9:27; Heb 9:6).
That covenant was ratified and put in force by the blood of Jesus Christ – by His
All of that has now been proclaimed and clarified in the Gospel, through which
faith comes to us (Rom 10:17). However, this glorious Gospel in embryo speaks
of things that took place about five-hundred years after Daniel’s death. There are
at least two things that can be observed in this circumstance.
First, behold how “greatly beloved” Daniel was! His tender heart and
submissive spirit so endeared him to God that He shared “secret” things with
him, and showed him “His covenant” (Psa 25:14). As in the case of Abraham,
God did not hide from Daniel the thing that He was going to do (Gen 18:17-19).
It is ever true, “His secret is with the righteous” (Prov 3:32). Daniel, because he
is “greatly beloved,” has therefore been “given to know the mysteries of the
kingdom of heaven” (Matt 13:11). Therefore Gabriel said to him, “As soon as you
began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are
highly esteemed” NIV (9:23).
Second, the Lord desires to make His purpose known. He not only shares His
secret with those who are righteous and beloved, He does so because He wants to
– it is His nature to do so. The saints are described as those to whom God “has
chosen to make known” NIV things that formerly were mysteries (Col 1:26-27). This
is particularly true regarding the Messiah, the Savior of the world. Before Adam
and Eve were driven from the Garden, God revealed the coming of One who
would crush the head of Satan (Gen 3:15). He spoke extensively to His friend
Abraham concerning a miraculous offspring through whom the world would be
blessed (Gen 12:3; 18:18; 22:18). He also divulged His intention to David (2 Sam
7:11-16; Acts 2:30). Repeatedly, the great God of heaven spoke of the coming
Redeemer through the Prophets, referring to “a righteous Branch” (Jer 23:5),
“wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of
peace” (Isa 9:6), a “Commander of the people” (Isa 55:4), the “Desire of all
nations”(Hag 2:7), “Immanuel” (Isa 7:14), “A Light to the Gentiles” (Isa 42:6),
and a Man who would be “as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the
tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary
land” (Isa 32:2). God has a desire to communicate His purpose. In Daniel He
found a man with whom He could profitably share that purpose. How about you?
In these days, enough cannot be said about these two things: being “greatly
beloved,” and God’s desire to share His heart and mind with men. Too often religion
is man-centered. The Scriptures, faith, salvation, and the New Covenant are
approached as though man was the center of it all. Thus the problems of humanity
tend to be accentuated, and purported problem-solvers rise to the top of the religious
heap. But God Himself is really at the heart of things. It is His desires that are
primarily met in Christ Jesus. It is His purpose that Jesus fulfilled on the cross,
and is now fulfilling at God’s right hand. In salvation, God is not merely solving
a problem, but executing an “eternal purpose.”
That purpose has eternal ramifications. It does not terminate in or with this
world. It does not reach its apex in the removal of sin, but includes bringing in
“everlasting righteousness” (9:24). It is not fully realized when those enslaved by the
devil are liberated from the tyranny of sin, but includes them receiving the kingdom
in all of its glory and fulness (Dan 7:27). When all is said and done, and the world has
passed away, “in the ages to come,” God will “show the exceeding riches of His
grace toward us through Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:7). Glory will be brought to God “in
the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Eph
3:21). Daniel has been given to see portions of this great purpose. At some point,
our religion must extend beyond this world.
A PRELUDE TO CHAPTERS ELEVEN AND TWELVE
The tenth chapter of Daniel is a prelude to chapters eleven and twelve. In it, the
prophet tells us how the vision given to him affected him, and some of the heavenly
circumstances related to him receiving it. Revealing some of the complexities
associated with getting a message from heaven to earth, an holy angel makes known
to Daniel “what is written in the book of truth” NIV (10:21). The magnitude of this
revelation is seen in the circumstances attending it – the glory and majesty of the
messenger, and the staggering impact it has upon the man of God. The content and
affects of this vision are anything but ordinary.
THE THIRD YEAR OF CYRUS
“ 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
Among other things, our text teaches us to properly assess our own lives.
Outwardly, the life of Daniel was lived in a political arena. Nebuchadnezzar made
him “a great man,” making him “ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief
of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon” (2:48). He was “master of the
magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers” (5:11). Belshazzar made him
“the third ruler in the kingdom” (5:29). Darius made him the first of three presidents.
He so favored him that he “thought to set him over the whole realm” (6:2). He was
prominent in the government, and prospered over a period of more than seventy years,
from Nebuchadnezzar through the reign of Cyrus (1:21) – serving during the
successive prominence of the Babylonian and Medo-Persian empires.
How will such an individual record the events of his life? One can only imagine
the sort of books that would be written by such a man today. The inner workings of
government, critical political decisions, the weaknesses and strengths of political
strategies, and the likes, would be splashed cross the literary world. I can see now:
“My experiences in Nebuchadnezzar’s court,” “The unique differences of the Persian
empire,” and “How I survived during the reigns of four different kings.”
But this is not how Daniel writes. He is being moved along by the Holy Spirit
of God (2 Pet 1:21), and thus is not writing a mere recap of his own life. The
pinnacle experiences that he describes are those in which he received revelations
from God. The times that he particularly notes are those during which he was
in communication with heaven.
Exactly the same thing may be observed in the writings of Moses, David, the
holy Prophets, and the Apostles. With unwavering consistency, their writings focus
on Divine communication, not human experience. The affairs of men are always
secondary. Even when they are mentioned, they are considered within the greater
context of Divine purpose.
One of the marks of a deteriorating generation is the vaunting of things
pertaining to men – whether they are desires and satisfaction, problems and their
resolution, or impressive achievements. When such things are enthroned in human
consideration, God and His purpose are pushed into the background. In such a
context, health, wealth, ease and comfort, and prosperity are given undue prominence.
In such a case, the heavens become like brass (Deut 28:23), God hides Himself (Isa
45:15), and spiritual famine sets in (Amos 8:11).
If God is going to work among men for their advantage, His own purpose
must become prominent, His fellowship sought, and His Word and will highly
valued. If these things do not occur, spiritually dry times will dominate. Convenient
explanations for such spiritual poverty may be developed by men. They may say, for
example, that God no longer works in this way or that way. But the truth of the
matter is that God does not work marvelously and profitably where He Himself
and His purpose are disdained or put into the background of thought.
Now, behold how Daniel speaks of his experience. He will tell us of the time
when he sought the Lord, his prayer was heard, and understanding was given to him
concerning the working of the Lord. When such occasions are highly valued, they will
occur with greater frequency, and in enlarged measures.
THE THIRD YEAR
“ 1a In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia . . . ”
The previous revelation took place during “the first year of Darius” (9:1-2).
That is estimated to have been around B.C. 538, whereas the third year of Cyrus is
thought to have been B.C. 534, four years later.
Previously, the prominence of Daniel was traced from Nebuchadnezzar “unto
the first year of king Cyrus” (1:21). That “first year” is said to have been the time
when God stirred up Cyrus’ spirit to make a proclamation, around B.C. 536, or two
years after Babylon was overthrown by Darius the Mede. “Now in the first year of
Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah
might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that
he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing,
saying, ‘Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD
God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem,
which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be
with him, and let him go up’” (2 Chr 36:23; Ezra 1:1-2). At that time, Cyrus called
for volunteers to return to Judah for the commencement of the project for which
God has raised him up. “Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with
him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the
LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem” (Ezra 1:3). In that “first
year,” Cyrus made a decree to “build the house of God,” and to return the vessels
Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple, and from which Belshazzar drank on the
evening his kingdom was stripped from him (Ezra 5:13-14; 6:3-4). At that time
42,360 people returned to Judah, with 7,337 maids and servants, 200 singing men and
women, 736 horses, 245 mules, 435 camels, and 6,720 asses (Ezra 2:64-66).
The relevance of this to our text is that Daniel did not return to Judah during
that time. God kept him in Babylon where He would deliver to him remarkable
insights concerning the future. Thus, the man who prayed so fervently for
Jerusalem was not himself allowed to return there. It is as though the revelation
now given to him provides a reward for his willing and submissive spirit, as the Lord
communes with him in the province of Babylon.
A THING WAS REVEALED
“ 1b . . . a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar
. . . ” Other versions read “a message,” NKJV “a revelation,” NIV “a word,” NRSV “a
secret,” BBE “another vision,” NLT and “an oracle.” TNK
Men Cannot Schedule Revelation
It is important to note that men cannot schedule revelation. A godly man like
Daniel reveled in the truth. Yet, he could not cause insights to be given to him, even
though he was “greatly beloved.”
The previous revelation occurred four years before this, in the first year of
Darius the Mede (9:1), around B.C. 536. The interpretation of Belshazzar’s vision of
a writing hand took place around the same time. Prior to that, a vision was given to
Daniel in the third year of Belshazzar’s reign, around B.C. 548. Before that, in the
first year of Belshazzar, around B.C. 550, a vision was given to him (8:1). Prior to
that, Daniel was granted the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar vision of a tree that
was cut down (4:20-26). This was around B.C. 570. Before that, He was granted an
understanding concerning Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the great image (2:31-45). That
occurred around B.C. 604. Notice how sporadic the revelations appear that were given
B.C. 604: The interpretation of the vision of the great image.
B.C. 570: The interpretation of the tree that was cut down – 34 years later.
B.C. 550: The vision of the four beasts during the first year of Belshazzar – 20
B.C. 548: The vision of the ram and the he-goat during the third year of the reign
of Belshazzar – 2 years later.
B.C. 538: The vision and message concerning the seventy weeks – 10 years later.
B.C. 534: The vision and interpretation now under consideration – 4 years later.
Here is a classic example of the manner in which revelations were given
prior to the removal of sin and the administration of the Lord Jesus. The Holy
Spirit reveals this manner in a very succinct way. “God, who at sundry times and in
divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets” (Heb 1:1). Other
versions read “various times and various ways,” NKJV “many portions and many
ways,” NASB and “many times and various ways.” NIV
Notice how this is fulfilled in the revelations given to Daniel.
Sundry times. Over a period of sixty eight years six revelations were given to
Daniel. The gaps between them were 34 years, 20 years, 2 years, 10 years, and 4
years. That is “sundry times!”
Divers manners, or ways. God spoke to Daniel through the dreams of
Nebuchadnezzar, the vision of Belshazzar, and insights given to him. He received
visions, and visits from angels. None of them could be scheduled upon earth, nor was
there a pattern to them that could be discerned by men.
All of this emphasizes why the things of God are to held as precious. When our
understanding is opened, every effort must be expended to keep what has been
committed to us. During a time in history when Divine communications were very
sparse, it is written, “And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there
was no open vision” (1 Sam 3:1). Other versions emphasize precisely why every word
of God was precious: “there was no widespread revelation,” NKJV “visions were
infrequent,” NASB “there were not many visions,” NIV and “visions were uncommon.”
I can only imagine the high value of the words sent to Daniel from heaven. His
mind must have often been dominated by them. How the children of God should
rejoice today for the abundance of truth that has been revealed in Christ Jesus!
The storehouse of revelation was greatly increased for men when Jesus finished the
transgression, made an end of sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness.
“ . . . whose name was called Belteshazzar.” This was the name given to Daniel
when he was a young man by the man who had charge of him (1:7). This was a
Babylonian name meaning “Bel’s prince,” or “whom Bel favors.” “Bel” was a
Babylonian god, or idol (Jer 50:2; 51:44).
This name is mentioned ten times in Scripture.
When the name was given to Daniel (1:7).
The prophet is identified as “Daniel whose name was Belteshazzar”(2:26; 4:8,19;
Nebuchadnezzar addressed Daniel as “Belteshazzar” (4:9,18).
Belshazzar’s queen referred to Daniel as “Daniel, whom the king named
Although a foreign name had been imposed upon Daniel, yet he referred to
himself as one of the chosen people, not merely one of the prominent Babylonians.
The man of God therefore says something was revealed to Daniel “whose name was
called Belteshazzar.” The latter name is how men in Babylon referred to him. But
when a messenger came from heaven, he did not address Belteshazzar, but said “O
Daniel” (9:22; 10:11,12; 12:4,9).
By saying “Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar,” the children of God
are assured the prophet is one of them, and not a mere Babylonian. He was still one
of the chosen people of God, even though honored by the kings of Babylon. The
people of Babylon would also learn that one among them had heard from the God of
heaven, whom they neither worshiped nor served.
Idols and Demons
Here was a man whose name indicated he was favored and protected by the god
Bel. Yet he was actually beloved of the God of heaven, who was over Bel. He was
also visited by holy angels who pierced the dark domain of the devil himself, who
was the immediate god of Bel. According to the Scriptures, service directed toward
idols is actually toward demons, who are behind them. Thus we read, “They . . . offer
their sacrifices to demons” (Lev 17:7), “they sacrificed to demons, not to God” (Deut
32:17), and “the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not
to God” (1 Cor 10:20).
You may be sure the devil and his demons did not want Daniel to hear from the
God to whom they all answer, and by whom they have already been judged (John
16:11; Jude 1:6; Rev 12:9). Yet, there in Babylon, a citadel of Satanic power and
delusion, there was a single man who heard from heaven, and was favored by
God. Those holy experiences confirmed that Bel was no god at all, and that the dark
powers behind him were in subjection to the “God of gods” (Dan 2:47; 11:36).
THE THING WAS TRUE
“ 1c . . . and the thing was true . . . ” The words “the thing” do not demean what
was revealed, or suggest that it was not of great value. Rather, they emphasis that
only a portion of the truth was revealed – particularly as compared with the “truth
as it is in Jesus” (Eph 4:21). Here the words mean “a particular thing was revealed
to me” – something specific.
The word “true” means certain, trustworthy, assured, established, and right. It
was “certain” because it had been established by God. It was “trustworthy” because
it had been revealed from heaven. It was “assured” because of Divine determination.
It was “established,” being written upon the tablets of eternal purpose. It was “right”
because governed by Divine righteousness, and in strict accord with the Divine
The words “the thing was true” confirm that the message was real, accurate,
and without any flaw. What was revealed to Daniel was cast in stone. It was not a
message of probabilities or possibilities, but of something that was coming to pass,
and could not possibly be averted. Such a word forbids doubt or skepticism on the
part of men. Daniel sees this and does not question the message. Rather, receiving it
to be absolutely true, he seeks for an understanding of it.
THE TIME WAS LONG
“ 1d . . . but the time appointed was long . . .” Other versions read, “the appointed
time was long,” NKJV “one of great conflict,” NASB “it concerned a great war,” NIV “even
a great warfare,” ASV “the appointed time of trial was long,” DARBY “a true revelation
of a great conflict,” NJB “times of war and great hardship,” NLT “it was a great task to
understand the prophecy,” TNK and “the warfare is great.” YLT
The various readings are not at all harmonious. Some emphasize the time, while
others focus on a particular conflict, or war. This is because the word from which
“time appointed” is rendered (tsaba) comes from a root that can also mean a mass of
persons organized for war. Thus some versions reject the phrase “time appointed,”
choosing to translate the word “great conflict,” “great war,” “time of trial,” “and great
Strong’s word definitions points out that of the 485 times this word is used, 393
refer to a military host, 41 to a war, 29 to an army, 5 to service, 3 to an appointed
time, 2 to warfare, 1 to soldiers, 1 to a company, and 5 to other miscellaneous words.
The message delivered to Daniel was going to take place in the future. That is,
it was not appointed to take place immediately. The sense of the text is much the same
as a word delivered to Habakkuk. “For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it
speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will
certainly come and will not delay” NIV (Hab 2:3).
Daniel’s words are intended to encourage us to appropriate proper
understanding, and not be satisfied with quick and seemingly easy learning. The fact
that what was revealed was in the future did not make it irrelevant, because it
was something God had both determined and revealed. Also, care must be taken
not to settle for a cursory understanding of the matter, for God had extended Himself
to get true understanding to Daniel through a heavenly messenger. Such Divine
activity must not be met with indifference on the part of men.
IT WAS UNDERSTOOD
“ 1e . . . and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.”
Daniel is speaking of himself. He speaks in the past tense much like Paul did
when recounting a lofty experience he had. “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen
years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot
tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven” (2 Cor 12:2).
There is a sense in which an individual through whom God speaks becomes
another man. Such a thing was said of Saul when he was anointed king by Samuel.
It is written, “And the spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt
prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man” (1 Sam 10:6). Such men
are lifted above the course of nature, in order that they might fulfill commissions for
which nature is not adapted.
By speaking in this manner, Daniel is ascribing his understanding to the Lord.
His insights were not the product of his own reasoning, contemplation, or Babylonian
credentialed wisdom. He had understanding because it was given to him –
brought by an angel from heaven! It was a gift, a dispensation, a token of Divine
favor. Now he will recount it point by point. No part will be omitted. He takes great
care, however, to inform us of the source of his wisdom, thereby glorying in the Lord.
THREE FULL WEEKS OF MOURNING
“ 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.”
In the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede, Daniel knew from Jeremiah’s
writings that the seventy-year Babylonian captivity was about to end. At that time he
set his face “unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and
sackcloth, and ashes.” During this time of fasting and prayer, the angel Gabriel came
to Daniel by the command of God, to give him understanding. Now, four years later,
Daniel again enters into a time of extended fasting and preparation. This time he is
again in quest of wisdom and understanding.
We learn from this that revelation is granted in the context of the
subduement of the flesh. Whether by fasting, the crucifixion of the flesh, resisting
the devil, or other forms of subduing the carnal nature, one must move away from the
prominence of the flesh to hear from the Lord.
IN THOSE DAYS
“ 2a In those days . . . ” These are the days during which “a thing was revealed”
to Daniel. The man of God now makes known the circumstances under which the
revelation was vouchsafed to him. For him, it was not a time of joy, but one of
THREE FULL WEEKS
“ 2b I Daniel was mourning three full weeks . . . ”
I Was Mourning
Other versions read, “gave myself to grief,” BBE “was in heaviness,” GENEVA and
“a three week penance.” NJB Mourning is related to lamentation, sadness, being
troubled, and bewailing. It is a way of buffeting the body, and bringing it into
subjection. Mourning is the result of insight – particularly insight into self and the
affairs of men. It is the result of Divine glory shining upon the human condition.
Daniel does not say why he was mourning “three full weeks.” We know from
the text, that two years had passed since Cyrus had issued the decree to rebuild the
Temple (Ezra 1:1-4). History tells us there had been an interruption of the Temple
building. Cyrus was engaged in a war against the Sythians. His son Cambyses,
corrupted by his military men, had halted the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple.
If this is true, perhaps word had come back to Daniel, and he was lamenting over the
In my judgment, there are other possible reasons why Daniel may have been
The implications of the word he had received from Gabriel earlier, concerning
desolation to come upon the land (9:1-27).
That all Jews had not returned to Jerusalem, even though released to do so by the
mandate of Cyrus (Ezra 1:3).
The report that the builders in Jerusalem were being troubled by their adversaries.
The hands of the people had been weakened, and the enemies had hired counselors
against them (Ezra 4:4). These may have been the very counselors who turned the
heart of Cambyses, son of Cyrus. It is said that these men sought to “frustrate their
purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia” (Ezra 4:5).
Men of God cannot help but be troubled when the work of the Lord moves along
slowly, or when those who have been granted liberty to leave Babylon choose to
remain in it.
Mourning Before the Lord
The mourning of Daniel is not that of despair, but of deep sorrow before the
Lord. He has been deeply affected by the condition of his people in a godly manner.
To a certain degree, it may be said of him as it was said of the Lord Himself, “In all
their affliction He was afflicted” (Isa 63:9).
Our blessed Lord said, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be
comforted” (Mat 5:4). This mourning is produced by an awareness and impact of sin
and man’s proclivity to it. The guilt and defilement produced by sin, as well as a
hearty disdain for it, causes mourning to erupt in the soul. This can be personal
sin, or the sin of those with whom one is associated. In Daniel’s case, it was both. The
impact of sin had caused his people to be in captivity for seventy years. There was
mourning because the Temple building had been delayed. There was also the matter
of being unable to grasp the full intent of the revelations given to him. Sin was the
mother of them all.
Later, we will find that the intent of Daniel’s prayer was to obtain
understanding, and to chasten himself before the Lord. As it is written, “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” (Dan 10:12). Once again, the presence of sin and its affects are
what created the need to understand, and the desire to chasten himself before the
Three Full Weeks
The extent of the impact of the above circumstances on Daniel is confirmed by
the duration of his mourning – “three full weeks.” This is a most remarkable
circumstance, revealing the sensitivity of the prophet. Few people are capable of
sustaining godly mourning for any period of time. One would be hard pressed to find
someone that eager to understand, and that desirous to be humbled before the God of
heaven. But here is a man in whom faith had done a marvelous work. He had a heart
and mind to know the things of God, and a compelling concern for the city,
Temple, and people upon whom God had put His name. The weight of these
things moved him to mourn in a state of spiritual alertness for “three full weeks.”
“ . . . I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth.”
The extent of Daniel’s fasting reveals the depth of his intention, and the extent
of his pursuit of understanding from heaven. Perhaps the reason why many obtain
very little understanding is that they never really pursue it with zeal, taking the
kingdom, as it was, by force (Matt 13:11). Solomon’s words may be applied in this
matter. “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting
get understanding” (Prov 4:7). In Christ Jesus, there is more wisdom to be had than
was available to either Solomon or Daniel. But it is to be sought with all diligence and
fervency – with the same spirit now seen in Daniel.
Pleasant food means “tasty food,” NASB “choice food,” NIV or “delicacies.” RSV
Daniel refrained from eating anything “pleasing,” BBE or “tasty.” TNK The prophet
purposefully withheld enjoyable food from himself, depriving himself of things that
were lawful, yet were not expedient at the time. There are times when lawful
pleasantries draw men away from higher and more noble things. Blessed is the
person who knows this, and can distinguish such times.
Neither Did I Anoint Myself
Other versions read, “neither did I use any ointment at all,” NASB “I used no
lotions at all,” NIV “I put no oil on my body,” BBE and “and used no fragrant oils,” NLT
The anointing to which Daniel refers is common in the East, and related to the
promotion of personal comfort. This was a common way of preparing oneself to
mingle in society. Jesus referred to the practice when speaking of fasting. “But thou,
when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; that thou appear not unto
men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in
secret, shall reward thee openly” (Mat 6:17-18). This was apparently associated with
refreshment, and was a common courtesy to which Jesus referred when “a woman of
the city” washed His feet with her tears, wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and
anointed them. When a Pharisee reasoned within himself that this was inappropriate,
Jesus responded, “My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath
anointed my feet with ointment” (Luke 7:46).
The thing to see here is that Daniel was so absorbed in his quest for
understanding, that the normalities of life were no longer appealing. He withdrew
himself from all bodily comforts because they were unimportant to him at the time.
His heart and mind were given to great and more important things. I do not believe
Daniel had to work at depriving his body of such pleasantries. Rather, in the
presence of the Lord, and while engaged in such a fervent quest, such things
were simply not appealing to him. It is surely in order for us to seek such a frame
Those who would be used by God must, to some measurable degree, have such
experiences. They move men from the periphery of the mundane into the holy of
holies. There must come a time when the human spirit is separated from the
distracting affairs of this world, and life in the flesh. This is why Jesus often
withdrew from the multitudes and everyday life for long vigils of prayer (Mark 1:35;
Luke 6:12; John 18:2; Luke 21:37).
Such experiences culture the soul, preparing it to receive things from God
that cannot otherwise be obtained. There is a certain spiritual soil in which the
truth must grow. Many a poor soul remains in a state of ignorance and confusion
simply because they live too close to the world.
THE TWENTY-FOURTH DAY OF THE FIRST MONTH
“ 4And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of
the great river, which is Hiddekel; 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: 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 color to
polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.”
Beginning with this verse, Daniel records the answer to his prayer. For twenty-one days the man of God has prepared his soul by subjecting his body to the higher
desires of his spirit. The words of our Lord ought to be remembered here. He taught
there are some matters that can only be addressed by “prayer and fasting” (Matt
17:21). While the subject of His words pertained to the casting out of demons, the
principle applies to a host of other things.
There are matters of such magnitude that they cannot be resolved by
ordinary kingdom manners. There are also spiritual insights and understanding
that cannot be appropriated by study and general godly demeanor alone. Some
matters require aggressive and extended effort. These things ought to be apparent,
and require no further comment.
Not only has Daniel been able to pray with more fervency and focus, he has
also, in that process, become more sensitive to the heavenly domain. His efforts were
not in vain, for those who seek do find (Matt 7:8).
This is now the sixth time Daniel records a response to his prayers – prayers that
spanned over a period of nearly seventy years.
Daniel and his three friends prayed for “mercies of the God of heaven” to reveal
the secrets of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the great statue. Their prayers were
When Darius was deceived into passing a law against asking anything from God,
Daniel offered his supplications anyway, and was delivered from the lion’s den
into which he was cast for praying (6:10-11,22).
During the first year of Belshazzar’s reign, Daniel had visions of great
significance. When he asked concerning their meaning, he was given the
interpretation of them (7:1,16,19).
When beholding the vision of the ram and the he-goat, Daniel “sought for the
meaning” of the vision, and received what he sought (8:15-16).
During the first year of Darius’ reign, Daniel knew by Jeremiah’s writings that the
Babylonian captivity was about to end. He set himself to seek the face of the Lord,
and God responded by sending Gabriel to give him understanding (9:3,20-21).
Now, for the sixth time, a revelation of great magnitude is given to Daniel.
When you ponder the insights that have been given to the sons of men, it will be
apparent that very few have received things from God that transcended His
normal communications with men. Some of the great prophets of God received only
one or two such insights. Paul, you will recall, confessed to receiving “visions and
revelations” from the Lord that were of a most extraordinary nature (2 Cor 12:1).
They were of such significance, and so far removed from ordinary spiritual
experience, that he was “given” a “thorn in the flesh” lest he be exalted “above
measure” (2 Cor 12:7).
Now Daniel receives a sixth insight of things to come. All of the revelations
given to this man of God were of such magnitude that to this very day they have
challenged the minds of the most prodigious spiritual thinkers of this day of
This is a most excellent example of how God interacts with those who are
“greatly beloved” by Him. I fear that the “God-loves-everyone-the-same” mentality that
pervades the modern church world has robbed people of this perspective. Even though
this view has been concocted to encourage people that they are loved by God, it has
actually resulted in the spread of mediocrity. It has given people a reason to remain
aloof from God, all the while thinking their standoffishness really has no effect
upon the Lord at all. Such thoughts are pure delusion.
If it is possible for an individual to be “greatly beloved” of God, it is not
possible that He will treat everyone exactly the same, without discrimination
vouchsafing to all the precious things of heaven. If such a thing was possible, there
would be no distinctive men like Abraham, David, Daniel, Paul, and others. Their
distinctiveness is found in the fact that they received more than ordinary men
– even more than ordinary godly men! Although this is a rudimentary observation,
it is hardly known in our day.
THE TWENTY-FOURTH DAY
“ 4a And in the four and twentieth day of the first month . . . ”
This was the twenty-fourth day of the first month of the Jewish year, and
corresponded to our month of March. This “first month” was established when Israel
was delivered from Egypt. That night, the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron saying,
“This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of
the year to you” (Ex 12:2). The fourteenth day of this month was established as “the
Passover of the Lord” (Num 28:16). The Passover feast began on the fifteenth day of
this month, and extended over seven days (Num 29:16-17).
Thus, Daniel had been mourning and praying during the Passover, “a feast of
seven days” (Ezek 45:21). We know he had been mourning for three full weeks, the
conclusion of which was the twenty-fourth day. The Passover took place on the
fourteenth day, and the “feast of unleavened bread,” commenced on the fifteenth day
of the first month (Lev 23:5-6), and extended for seven days, or through the twenty-second day. The time of our text, therefore, was two days after the conclusion of the
Passover and its associated feast of unleavened bread.
There is no evidence that the actual Passover feast, or feast of unleavened bread,
was being kept during the time of Daniel. In fact, the feast had not been properly kept
for some time. During the reign of Josiah, he renewed the Passover feast, which had
been greatly neglected. Of that feast it is written, “And there was no passover like to
that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of
Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all
Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem” (2 Chron
35:18). Some time after Daniel, during the time of Ezra, “the children of the captivity
kept the Passover upon the fourteenth day of the first month”(Ezra 6:19). However,
there is no record of it ever being kept by the people when they were in Babylon.
Our text suggests, however, that Daniel had not forgotten the feast that
celebrated Israel’s deliverance from “the iron furnace” of Egypt (Deut 4:20; Jer
11:43). It cannot be coincidence that his “three whole weeks” of mourning extended
over the entirety of the Passover and the feast of unleavened bread.
After Three Whole Weeks
The events of our text also took place at the conclusion of Daniel’s three-week
period of mourning. He was now ready to receive from God. His heart and mind
had been purged of the ordinary concerns relating to life in the flesh. He attention
was now focused upon the city of God, the Temple of God, and the people of God.
Once again, I want to observe that many people never hear from the Lord, or
receive insights from Him, because they simply are not in the right frame of
mind to do so. They remain too close to this world, too absorbed in its activities, and
too enamored of its manners. Consequently their hearts are not tuned to the heavenly
frequency. If God was to speak to them, like those obtuse Jews of Jesus’ day, they
would think it “thundered” (John 12:29).
In an effort to obscure this circumstance, Satan has fostered all manner of
doctrines that lead people to believe they can suddenly and profitably be blessed by
the Lord while they are in a carnal state of mind. Perhaps God will suddenly strike
them down through the touch of another person, or throw them into an unconscious
state in which they will suddenly become spiritual, and utter words in a heavenly
language. Perhaps they will walk into a realm that is more dominated by the Holy
Spirit, and thus will be forcibly wafted into a godly state of mind.
Whatever value may be assigned to such views, they are wholly without any
Scriptural precedent. Great blessings generally follow great preparations. Before
Jesus began His productive ministry, He spent forty days fasting in the wilderness
(Matt 4:2). Before He chose His disciples, He spent all night in prayer to God (Luke
6:12-13). Before He presented Himself to those who would take His life according
to Divine appointment, He prayed fervently in Gethsemane (Matt 26:38-44). Before
the disciples chose one to fill the vacated bishopric of Judas, they spent time in prayer
(Acts 1:13-14,24). The day of Pentecost was preceded by “devout men, out of every
nation under heaven,” being gathered together for the observance of the feast of
Pentecost (Acts 2:5-12). Before Saul of Tarsus was given his commission, he spent
three days during which he prayed, and did neither eat nor drink (Acts 9:9,11).
Enough cannot be said about this. Multitudes of people go to assemblies totally
unprepared to receive a blessing. Others depend upon instant prayers during a crisis
to bring down the blessing of God. Let it be clear that God does not bring great
crops from unprepared soil. Thus the prophet admonished, “Break up your
unplowed ground and do not sow among thorns” NIV (Jer 4:3). Such activity is
necessary if men are to be directed by the God of heaven.
Daniel has broken up the unplowed ground, and tuned his heart to hear from
heaven. Although he is personally unaware of what will actually take place, he is
now ready to hear from the Lord.
THE GREAT RIVER
“ 4b as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel . . . ”
The “great river Hiddekel” is understood to be the Tigris River, and is so
translated in most other versions (NKJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, RSV, DOUAY, ESV,
NJB, NLT). Versions representing the river as “Hiddekel” include KJV, ASV,
DARBY, GENEVA, WEBSTER, and YLT.
This was the third of four rivers into which the river flowing through Eden
was separated. As it is written, “And a river went out of Eden to water the garden;
and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. The name of the first is
Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;
and the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. And the name
of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of
Ethiopia. And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward
the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates” (Gen 2:10-14).
The particulars of why Daniel was on the banks of this particular river are not
provided. It appears that he was actually there, versus being transported there in a
vision. Later, in the seventh verse, he affirms there were others with him when this
event occurred: “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
One can only imagine the massiveness of the river that flowed through Eden, giving us some
sort of indication as to Eden’s size. All of the rivers separating from it were exceedingly large.
Historians identify the Pison river with the Ganges River (Joseph, Eusibius, Ambrosins,
Epiphanus, Jerome, and Augustine. McCLINTOK STRONG Some also maintain it was associated with the Nile,
although that view has proved difficult to substantiate. Whatever view one wishes to take, the river
was exceedingly large. Today, the Ganges River is 1,560 miles long, rising in the Himalayas, and
emptying in into the Bay of Bengal, draining a quarter of the territory of India. BRITANNICA 2003
The Gihon River is said to encompass “the whole land of Ethiopia.” The reference to Ethopia
has led men to believe this was the Nile River. Although the exact identity of this river is difficult
to establish, it also was one of significant size. Today, this river is 4,132 miles long, with its basin
including Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan, and part of Egypt. BRITANNICA 2003
The Hiddekel River, as already stated, is identified with the Trigris River, which ran Eastward
to Assyria, as Genesis 2:14 states. Today, this river is 1,180 miles in length, standing on one side of
the Mesopotamia, the “cradle of civilization,” with the Euphrates River on the other side.
The Euphrates River is mentioned fifteen times in Scripture (Gen 2:14;15:18; Deut 1:7; 11:24;
Josh 1:4; 2 Sam 8:3; 2 Kgs 23:29; 24:7; 1 Chron 5:9; 18:3; Jer 46:2,6,10; Rev 9:14; 16:12). Today,
the river is 1,740 miles in length.
Thus, the river flowing through Eden divided into four rivers that today have a combined length
of 8,612 miles. That is over three times the distance from New York City to Los Angeles, CA. Think
of it another way, the total watercourse flowing out of Eden was much greater than the following
distances, which are all as the crow flies. All are from New York City: to London England (3,470
miles), to Moscow Russia (4,680 miles), to Cairo Egypt (5,621 miles), to Tokyo Japan (6,760 miles),
to Bombay India (7,800 miles), and to Johannesburg South Africa (7,980 miles).
“ 5a Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked . . . ” Another version reads, “I raised
my eyes to look about me.” NJB
It is as though Daniel senses there is something to see, and therefore lifts up his
eyes and looks about him. His spirit has been sensitized by the previous three weeks,
making him more alert to his surroundings. He is not admiring the enormousness and
majesty of the “great river,” for it is known to have been a swift moving river. Such
meager sights, though they gain the attention of those living close to the earth are
weak and beggarly after spending time in the presence of the Lord God of
heaven and earth.
I realize that many are persuaded they can feel closer to God in a surrounding
of natural beauty. However, there is no Scriptural basis for such a suggestion. Jesus
spent time in the Mount of Olives at night, not in the day (Luke 21:37). He was not
there to admire the trees and foliage, but to get away from the multitudes and the
distractions of public life and its associated obligations.
Probably A Time of Devotion
It appears as though Daniel was in a state of devotion during this time. Perhaps
this was right at the conclusion of the three full weeks he had spent mourning before
the Lord. The language indicates that his head had been bowed toward the earth.
Perhaps he was walking on the bank of the great river, similar to Isaac, who “went out
to meditate in the field at eventide” (Gen 24:63). At any rate, it is highly unlikely that
his presence there was a casual one, with no regard to the Lord and the thought he had
entertained during his three week vigil. Those who are experienced in the Kingdom
know that few people ever realize great spiritual experiences in the midst of the
mundane. A Divine call or summons may be realized while one is mending nets
(Matt 4:21),plowing (1 Kgs 19:19), or sitting at the seat of customs (Matt 9:9).
However, one will be hard pressed to find a single example in Scripture of anyone
receiving a revelation of the magnitude of this text while engaged in such activities.
A CERTAIN MAN
“ 5b . . . and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with
fine gold of Uphaz: 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 color to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.”
There are some valuable lessons to be learned as we consider this vision. We
know from what follows that this was not a “man,” but a heavenly personality. His
touch strengthened Daniel. He was sent from God. He had been engaged in a great
battle with spiritual forces. This was not a man, but an angel who had come in the
appearance of a man. The human form veiled the glory of the angel, making Daniel
able to perceive him, and neutralizing the fear that would have otherwise dominated
His clothing and body will give us some indication of how angelic hosts adapt
themselves to men. I do not know what liberty angels may have in how they appear
to men, or if that appearance is part of their assignment. But whatever the answer may
be, we have here a heavenly manner – a way heaven thinks about appearing before
men. The glorified Christ, for example, when seen by John was “clothed with a
garment down to the foot” (Rev 1:13). When God clothed Adam and Eve, it was with
“coats of skin” (Gen 3:21). The high priestly vestments were designed to cover the
flesh to such an extent that the priests were covered from their waists to their thighs
(Ex 28:42). It is enough to say that such things ought to be duly noted by all who wear
the name of the Lord.
A Certain Man
This was a specific personality who had been sent on a specific mission to a
specific person, and at a specific time. There are no generalities here.
“ . . . clothed in linen.” This angel is not attired in immodest clothing, or scanty
clothing, or some other demeaning garb. Whatever people may think of clothing,
due attention ought to be given to the manner in which this angel made himself
known to Daniel.
He was “clothed in linen.” Later, in the twelfth chapter, Daniel will encounter
a messenger “clothed in linen” (12:12:6-7). Ezekiel was given a vision of an angel
commissioned to “Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem,
and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the
abominations that be done in the midst thereof” (Ezek 9:4). It is said of this angel that
he was “clothed in linen” (Ezek 9:2-3,11;10:2,6,7). Ezekiel was also told that those
who entered the sanctuary to minister to the Lord were to be “clothed with linen
garments” (Ezek 44:16-17). John the beloved saw seven angels come out of the
temple with seven plagues. They were all “clothed in pure and white linen” (Rev
15:6). The bride of Christ, the glorified church, is said to granted to be “arrayed in
fine linen, clean and white,” which depicted “the righteousness of saints” (Rev 19:8).
The “armies of heaven” are also said to be “clothed in fine linen, clean and white”
(Rev 19:14). When Jesus was buried, he was wrapped in “linen clothes”(John 19:40;
All of this was foreshadowed in the attire of the high priest. He wore an
“ephod” and “intricately woven band” (girdle) that was made of excellent material
that were woven with “fine twined linen” (Ex 28:5-8). His “breastplate” was also
made with “fine twined linen” (Ex 28:15). His overgarment was a “cost of fine
linen,” and he wore a “mitre,” or turban, and “breeches” of the same material (Ex
The significance of the angel being clothed in linen is seen in this. The message
dealt with things pertaining to God, and thus it was appropriate that a garment be
worn that was befitting of purity and sanctity – like the high priest.
His “loins,” or waist, were girded with a belt made of the “gold of Uphaz.”
Other versions read “pure gold,” NASB and “finest gold,” NIV and “best gold.” BBE
Girded loins are a depiction of readiness to do the bidding of the Lord – a sort
of preparation to labor in an unhindered way. Those who were about to go on a
mission were told “Gird up thy loins” (2 Kgs 4:29;9:1; Jer 1:17). The girding of the
“loins of the mind” is also a summons to engage in deep thought concerning the
words of the Lord (Job 38:3; 40:7; 1 Pet 1:13).
Jeremiah mentions “gold from Uphaz” (Jer 10:9), but nothing else is said in
Scripture of either this kind of gold or this place. It was apparently a place yielding
especially pure and precious gold.
When John saw the glorified Christ, He was also girded about with a “golden
girdle,” belt, or sash (Rev 1:13). The belt of pure gold signifies that everything
worn by the angel was held together and kept in place by value and true
heavenly worth. Nothing was out of harmony with the truth or purpose of God. From
the New Covenant point of view, this is like the believer having his “loins girt about
with truth,” thereby holding all of the armor in place (Eph6:14). This depicts a
certain order that penetrates all of the Kingdom.
There is considerable detail provided concerning the bodily frame of this
messenger. Reference is made to “his body,” “his face,” “his eyes,” “his arms,” and
“his feet.” While most impressive according to appearance, this appearance was
like a veil draped over the exceeding glory of this heavenly messenger. This veil
enabled Daniel to see the messenger, and not be struck down with fright by the sight.
“His body also was like the beryl.” This was one of the stones in the breastplate
of the high priest (Ex 28:20; 39:13). The wheels of Ezekiel’s vision of the wheel in
a wheel were the color of beryl (Ezek 1:16;10:9-10). In Ezekiel’s delineation of the
fall of Satan, he states that he, as the “anointed cherub,” was once in “Eden the
garden of God,” and was covered with all manner of precious stones, including the
beryl (Ezek 28:13). The beryl was also the eighth foundation of the wall of “the great
city, the holy Jerusalem,” that John saw “descending out of heaven from God,” which
was identified as “the bride, the Lamb’s wife” (Rev 21:10-20). Wherever it is
mentioned in Scripture, it is always significant.
The identity of the beryl is not easy to determine. There are a variety of views on this subject.
Strong’s Hebrew definitions say it is “perhaps a chrysolite, yellow jasper, or other yellow colored
stone,” or “topaz.” Luther was of the opinion it was turquoise. Others have thought the color was
amber. Kalisch says it is chrysolite, which is usually green of varying shades. Schleuser says it is a
gem of the genus of the emerald, but less valuable than the emerald. Humble says the colors of the
beryl are “grayish green, blue, yellow, and sometimes nearly white.” McCLINTOK AND STRONG
Nelson’s Bible Dictionary says the beryl “ranged in color from bluish green to yellow, white,
pink, and deep green.”
Unger’s Bible Dictionary says the color of the beryl is “the deep-green variety being emerald.”
It also says it is represented as “a deep red stone.”
The International Standard Encyclopedia of Bible Knowledge says it has a sea-green color.”
Calvin says the angel’s body was “sky-colored . . . of a golden hue.” Barnes says it is “green
and bluish-green,” being “identical with the emerald.” Delitzsch and Keil say it is “the chrysolite of
the Old and the Topaz of the New Testament.” Matthew Henry says it was “of a sky color.” John
Gill says the beryl is “said to be of an azure and sky color,” that some think it was “a sea color,
greenish,” while others say “the sardonyx is meant, which is of a flesh color.”
It should be apparent that we cannot establish the color of the beryl with any
degree of certainty. It is therefore pointless to speculate about it. From the Scriptural
use of this word it should be obvious that this stone is especially associated with
the presence of the Lord. It was the first stone in the fourth row upon the high
priests breastplate. It was associated with the glory of God shown to Ezekiel. It was
related to Eden, the garden of God. And it was one of the foundation stones of the
The body of this messenger had a color that reflected the glory from which
he had come. It confirmed he had been sent from the presence of the Lord. That, in
my judgment, is the point of emphasis.
“His face as the appearance of lightning.” The face of this messenger flashed
brightly like shots of penetrating lightning. One version reads, “From his face came
flashes of lightning.” NLT This was doubtless the emission of Divine glory, similar to
the appearance of Moses’ face after he had been in the presence of the Lord (Ex
Lightning is frequently associated with the God of heaven. In David’s depiction
of Sinai at the giving of the Law, he said God sent out “lightning and discomfited
them” (2 Sam 22:15). He is said to scatter His enemies by lightning (Psa 144:6). In
Ezekiel’s “visions of God,” there were appearances of lightning (Ezek 1:13-14).
Zechariah associated the flashing of lightning with the coming of the Lord (Zech
9:14). The lightning flashes from this messenger’s face confirmed that he had
come from heaven – from the presence of the Lord. He was much like the angel
of the Lord who “descended from heaven,” rolling back the stone from the tomb
where Christ once lay, and sitting triumphantly upon it. It is said of that angel, “His
countenance was like lightning” (Matt 28:3).
“His eyes as lamps of fire.” Other versions read his eyes were like “torches of
fire,” NKJV “flaming torches,” NASB and “burning lights.” BBE
The eyes of the messenger were penetrating, and nothing was hidden from him.
The matters of which he would speak were clear to him. He was not declaring
something of which he knew little or nothing. It is apparent that although this person
had the appearance of a man, it was not a man, but a member of the heavenly court.
This is the same kind of description given of the glorified Christ: “His eyes were
as a flame of fire” (Rev 1:14; 2:18; 3:18; 19:12). Because of this, some are of the
opinion that this was not an angel, but a vision of the Lord Himself. However, this
cannot be true, for that would require that God or the Word be humbled to take a
bodily form, come to earth, and deliver a message to one of the sons of men. When
God came down upon Sinai, it was in resplendent glory, not in the form of a man.
When He revealed Himself to Moses, it was in the form of a proclamation, uttered in
the afterglow of His glory, and not in the form of a man. Christ’s appearance as a man
to John was after He had been glorified as “the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5). There
can be no doubt that this was an angel sent from God, and not the Lord Himself.
His Arms and Feet
“His arms and his feet like in color to polished brass.” Other versions read
“burnished bronze,” NKJV “the gleam of polished bronze,” NASB “glittering brass,”
DOUAY “shining brass,” Septuagint and “bright brass.” YLT
When Ezekiel saw a revelation of God, there were four living creatures in the
midst of the marvelous glory. He said of their feet, “And their feet were straight feet;
and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf's foot: and they sparkled like the
color of burnished brass” (Ezek 1:7). In our text, the heavenly messenger has both
arms and feet that were glittering brightly like highly polished brass. This personage
has the form of a man, but there the likeness ends. This is in order to confirm to
Daniel that he is receiving something from heaven. It is a high and lofty message than
cannot be obtained from earth. Yet, in a singular display of Divine grace, the message
is brought down to him, and presented so he can comprehend it.
However, with all of this, great care is taken that does not allow the heavenly
messenger to be too close to the earth – too much like man. The message is, indeed,
brought to earth, but only a godly man will be able to receive it.
“The voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.” Other versions read, “the
sound of his words like the sound of a tumult,” NASB “his words like the roar of a
multitude,” NRSV “his voice was like the sound of an army,” BBE and “his voice was like
the roaring of a vast multitude of people.” NLT
When the messenger spoke, it sounded like the shouts of a multitude of people.
The sound as well as the message was vast, impressive, and inspirational. Those who
like quiet devotional talks would certainly have been ill-at-ease on this occasion. The
impression I receive from this text is that the heavenly message had an overpowering
effect, drowning out, as it was, the sounds of earth. When this angel began to speak,
the roar of the rushing Tigris River could no longer be heard. Distractions lost their
power, and Daniel’s attention was riveted on the message being brought to him. The
affairs of state certainly did not enter into Daniel’s mind at this time.
Not Daniel’s First Vision
Keep in mind, this is not the first vision Daniel has received, nor is it his first
encounter with a heavenly being. He had previously overheard two heavenly
personalities talking (8:13-14). He had been personally tutored by the angel Gabriel,
who was also in appearance as a man (8:15-27; 9:21-27). But this angel is even more
dazzling in appearance. Whether or not it was because he was a superior angel, I do
It is enough to observe that the revelations given to Daniel appear to increase in
both volume and the nature of the things revealed. This also is a manner of the
kingdom – to continue to grow and expand. Thus, the things revealed to Daniel in the
latter years of his life were of greater magnitude than those revealed at the beginning
of his prophetic tenure. It is in order for us to expect such things.
Something To Be Learned
If ever the human spirit can be tuned to the heavenly frequency, and the heart
and mind become occupied with eternal verities, the things of this world will begin
to lose their attractiveness and power. Heaven always speaks louder than the earth.
However, as we will see from this text, only those who have given their attention to
holy things will be able to discern what is being said.
When the earth is like unwanted static to our souls, and its sounds are an
unwanted interruption to our spirits, then, and only then, will the heavenly voice
drown them out. As long as the things of this world are viewed as superior, heaven
will be silent.
ONLY DANIEL SAW THE VISION
“ 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.”
There are messages and insights that are NOT for everyone – messages that are
brought to specific people at specific times. God’s communication at Sinai was only
for Israel. His face to face communication was only for Moses. Following His
resurrection, Christ appeared only to His disciples, showing them things that, at the
time, were for no one else. Jesus appeared to Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus,
but His word was for Saul alone, not those who were with him. When Paul was
wafted into the third heaven, he heard words intended for him alone, and for which
there was no human capability to communicate the message to others.
Now Daniel is brought a message that those who are with him are not intended
to receive. Whether men wish to accept it or not, there are discretionary revelations
from God – words that come to specific people at specific times. Some of them may
be told later, like the word to the shepherds on the night our Lord was born. But the
angels appeared only to the shepherds, not all of those to whom they reported. So it
is in our text.
ONLY DANIEL SAW
“ 7a And I Daniel alone saw the vision . . . ” Another version reads, “I, Daniel,
was the only one who saw the vision.” NIV
In the flesh, one might suppose it impossible to hide a dazzling heavenly
messenger from whose face lightning bolts flashed, who was girded with gold, whose
eyes were like brightly burning torches, and whose arms and legs glistened like highly
This is why the appearance is called a “vision.” It was not something
contained in the course of nature, but was transcendent to nature. As I
understand it, a vision is perceived by the mind, not the eye. Thus the Scriptures
speak of visions as being in the “head” (Dan 2:28; 4:5,10,13;7:1,15). Visions are not
detected with the physical senses, for they are a spiritual experience.
This opens the meaning of the expression, “Where there is no vision, the people
perish” (Prov 29:18). That is, where people are not given to see spiritual realities, or
where the things of God are not revealed to them, they will perish. Thus other
versions read, “Where there is no revelation,” NIV “When there is no prophecy,” DARBY
“When prophecy shall fail,” DOUAY and “When people do not accept Divine
Daniel is receiving revelation, a prophecy, a word from God, and Divine
guidance – and he is the only one who will be granted to perceive and understand it.
THE MEN WITH HIM
“ 7b . . . 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.”
It is apparent from this that some awareness of the supernatural events registered
upon those who were with Daniel. We are not told who they were. They could have
been fellow Jews. They could also have been official attendants to Daniel, serving
some of his needs. He was still remained in a place of political prominence.
A Great Quaking
Note the Divine discrimination. A vision was sent to Daniel, and a “great
quaking” to those who were with him. Other versions read, “an exceeding great
terror fell on them,” DOUAY “a great fear fell upon them,” GENEVA “great amazement
fell upon them,” Septuagint “a great trembling overtook them,” NJB and “they were
suddenly terrified.” NLT
These men sense something, we do not know exactly what it was – but it was
related to this majestic personality that had been sent to Daniel. Alarm fell suddenly
upon them so that they could not remain. The vision was intended for Daniel alone,
and thus the presence of the angel is more than they can bear.
God has revealed that He can “appoint” a terror over people, causing it to come
upon them (Lev 26:16). He can make people “flee when none pursueth” (Lev
26:17). He can even cause “the sound of a shaken leaf” to chase men, so that they
flee “as fleeing from a sword” (Lev 26:36). That is something to put into your
spiritual arsenal when enemies or circumstances begin to cause you undue concern.
If the presence of an angel can have such an affect upon men, what of the presence
of the Lord Himself?
They Fled to Hide
Fear so gripped these men that “fled to hide themselves.” This confirms the
reality of what happened to Daniel. The men who were with him were only exposed
to the residue of angelic glory, and yet it was still more than they could bear. Believe
me, God can rid the ranks suddenly and effectively of those who do not
understand. It is good to learn to bank on this.
If such a fear fell on the men who were with Daniel when but a single angel
came down from heaven to him (not to them), what will occur when Jesus comes
in all of His glory, and the glory of the Father, and the glory of all His holy
angels? Those who imagine there will be an alliance of the ungodly who will fight
against the glorified Christ betray a very distorted understanding, to say the very least,
and to be undeservedly charitable. Jesus will “consume” the loftiest of all His
adversaries “with the spirit of His mouth,” and “destroy” him “with the brightness
of His coming” (2 Thess 2:8). Even the heavens and earth will flee from before His
face (Rev 20:11). When His enemies see Him coming in glory they will call out to the
mountains and rocks, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth upon
the throne, for from the wrath of the Lamb” (Rev 6:16).
When Jesus comes “to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them
that believe,” His enemies – all of them – will shrink back in terror, for He is also
coming at that time to destroy them. As it is written, “when the Lord Jesus shall be
revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on
them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who
shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and
from the glory of His power; when He shall come to be glorified in his saints . . .”
(2 Th 1:10).
As confirmed in this vision, glory and flesh cannot mingle. Even the glory
of holy angels must be significantly veiled before messages and benefits can be
passed from them to men. And even then, those to whom they have not been sent
run and hide in fear. Let us have done with views of glory that tend to take this truth
from us! Such teachings are dangerous beyond all description. They are shallow soil
in which all manner of erroneous and damaging thought will grow.
“ 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.”
Again, I want to take care to emphasize the impact this heavenly messenger had
upon Daniel and those with him. This was a most sobering occasion, which is the
manner of the kingdom. The closer one gets to the Lord and heavenly influences,
the more sober and serious they become. This needs to be known in a day when
casualness and haphazardness has barged into the church with disruption to sensitive
hearts. Those who have genuine encounters with the powers of heaven do not easily
forget them, and are most assuredly sober during such occasions.
When the glory of the Lord appeared on Sinai, it is written “And all the people
saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the
mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off”
(Exo 20:18). This is not to mention the impact the voice of God had upon Adam and
Eve after they had sinned. They also hid (Gen 3:8).
Let me give you an even more vivid example of the effect of the spirit world
upon men in the flesh. Eliphaz the Timanite told Job of an experience he had. “Now
a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof. In thoughts
from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men, Fear came upon me,
and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. Then a spirit passed before my
face; the hair of my flesh stood up” (Job 4:12-15). If that is what “a little thereof”
can do to the flesh, what can be said of an abundance?
I WAS LEFT ALONE
“ 8a Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision . . . ” Just as the
disciples forsook Jesus when His hour came (Mk 14:50), so all of those with Daniel
forsook him when this hour came. Instead of fleeing with those with him, Daniel
remains to face the heavenly messenger all alone. In this respect, he was like the
patriarch Jacob, who alone wrestled with a heavenly messenger (Gen 32:24-29).
The point here is that Daniel was left alone looking at this vision. No kindred
souls were with him. Other versions read, “So I was left alone, gazing at this great
vision,” NIV and “So I was left alone to see this great vision.” NRSV
For every child of God, there is a Peniel – as that of Jacob who wrestled there
through the night (Gen 32:30). It is a time when the magnitude of Divine glory is
more immediately confronted, leaving an unforgettable impact upon the human spirit.
“ 8b . . . and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in
me into corruption, and I retained no strength.”
How will a confrontation with the spiritual world affect Daniel? As with us, that
world was always there. But now Daniel knowingly encounters it.
Other versions read, “yet no strength was left in me,” NASB “I had no strength
left,” NIV “My strength left me,” NRSV “all my strength went from me,” BBE “I was
powerless,” NJB and “I was drained of strength.” TNK
The mere confrontation of a person from “the world to come” utterly depleted
all human, or fleshly strength. No war was fought, no display of angelic strength and
power was given. The vision of the angel caused the strength of a holy man, greatly
beloved in heaven, to wither and disappear. John experienced the same thing when
the glorified Christ appeared to him on Patmos. “And when I saw Him, I fell at His
feet as dead” (Rev 1:17).
All of this confirms that presently there are conflicting things between
heaven and earth. The closer God gets to the flesh, the more it trembles. The
presence of heavenly glory is disruptive to the flesh. For those in Christ Jesus, this
will only be terminated when we are “like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1
Comeliness Turned to Corruption
Other versions read, “my vigor was turned to frailty,” NKJV “my natural color
turned to a deathly palor,” NASB “my face turned deathly pale,” NIV “my complexion
grew deathly pale,” NRSV “radiant appearance was fearfully changed,” RSV “the color
went from my face.” BBE and “my glory was turned into corruption.” Septuagint
Daniel’s face assumed the pale and yellowish palor of death. The sight before
him was so awesome that his physical power nearly shut down completely. The
confrontation of a glorious person from the heavenly realms was too much for the
flesh – and that was a glory that was much veiled! Earlier, Daniel had a similar
experience when his countenance was changed within him at the conclusion of the
vision of the four great beasts from the sea (7:28).
Habakkuk responded similarly to a message that was delivered to him. He
records, “When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness
entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself” (Hab 3:16).
Moses had a similar experience on Mount Sinai. There, amidst the thunder and
lightning, with a thick cloud upon the mount, and a tempest blowing upon them,
Moses cried out, “I exceedingly fear and quake!” (Heb 12:21).
What we have here is nature convulsing in the presence of glory, being
weakened in the presence of glory. What happened on Mount Sinai is happening in
Daniel’s person. What took place in nature when Jesus died, is taking place in the
body of the beloved of God. It is a miniature picture of what will take place when the
Lord Jesus is revealed in all of His glory. There will be a violent disruption of the
entire natural order. At that time “The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard,
and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy
upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again” (Isa 24:20).
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but not from mere old age – even though the
heavens and the earth shall “wax old like a garment” (Psa 102:25-26). They will be
made instantly “old,” and pass away in the blaze of the glory of God, Christ, and
the holy angels.
The Folly Of A Fleshly Religion
These days it is important to point out the folly of a religion that is anchored to
the flesh, or the body. When too much attention is given to the body, or fleshly
experiences, it is quite evident that not much glory has been seen. The more of God
a person sees, the more deficient the flesh becomes.
I am persuaded some people would place more value on the bodily experience
of Daniel than the vision that he was given to see. However, the draining of Daniel’s
strength and the change of his countenance was not the blessing. The blessing was
the message that had been sent to him from heaven.
In Christ Jesus, the presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit withers the flesh,
robbing it of its power. This is involved in the following words. “For if ye live after
the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye
shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God”
(Rom 8:13-14). The Lord came to deliver us from the flesh, and the Spirit leads
us in that deliverance.
With Daniel, the subduing of the flesh came by means of a heavenly messenger
wrapped in subdued glory. His flesh could not be prominent then, but fell beneath that
weight of glory. For those in Christ Jesus, it comes through the enabling ministry of
the Holy Spirit, who leads us in crucifying the flesh.
HE HEARD THE WORDS ANYWAY
“ 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.”
Daniel’s spirit was more alert than his body. While his outward man reeled to
and fro at the sight of the angel, his inward man could still hear what was being said
to him. This confirms to us that our outward nature is vastly inferior to our
inward one. There is, in this case, a vast difference between the fear and dread that
moved Israel to cry out, “let not God speak with us, lest we die” (Ex 20:19), and the
response of Moses, which was “show me Thy glory” (Ex 33:18).
THE VOICE OF HIS WORDS
“ 9a Yet heard I the voice of his words . . . ” Other versions read, “the sound of
his words,” NKJV “I heard him speaking,” NIV
The focus was not the appearance of the heavenly being – although that was
very impressive. It was the message that he brought that was the center of attention.
Although his appearance was dazzling and arresting, it was nevertheless quite
subdued. The angel was not the point, but the message – not his glory, but the
glory of his word. Therefore, Daniel says he heard the voice of his words, even
though his appearance had registered such a formidable impact upon his flesh.
I WAS IN A DEEP SLEEP
“ 9a . . . 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.” Other versions read, “I fell into a trace,
face to the ground,” NRSV “I fell into a deep stupor on my face,” DARBY “I lay in
consternation upon my face,” DOUAY “I was pricked in my heart, and I fell with my
face toward the earth,” Septuagint “I fell fainting, face toward the ground,” NJB and
“overcome by a deep sleep, I lay prostrate on the ground.” TNK
I cannot help but notice the clash of the spiritual with the order of flesh.
When exhilarating and awe-inspiring fleshly experiences occur, they generally do not
put us to sleep. In fact, fearful sights have a way of driving sleep from us. But that it
not what happened here. The flesh was anything but alert!
Of course, the site was not natural, or in the flesh. It was rather in the spirit and
mind. It was a vision, and visions from God have a calculated affect upon the
flesh, subduing its power, and enabling the human spirit to gain proper focus.
The flesh simply cannot traffic in the domain of spiritual realities. It not only has no
interest inn such things, it cannot survive in such holy climes.
The vision vouchsafed to Daniel, and the words that were spoken in it,
overpowered the flesh, causing Daniel’s body to fall to the earth in a stupor, or trance.
Mind you, this was not a carnal man, or one who was a stranger to the things of God.
This was a man confessed to be “greatly beloved” in the heavenly realms. The
meaning here is that his spirit remained alert, even though his body was overcome.
In the Word of God, this is not an unusual experience.
The words “deep sleep” mean an unconscious state, a heavy sleep, or fast
asleep. It is a state wherein the flesh becomes non-functional. Yet, this is not a state
where Divine or heavenly communication cannot be realized. Some examples will
suffice to establish this point.
When God ratified His covenant with Abram, He did so while a “deep sleep”
had fallen upon the patriarch. As it is written, “And when the sun was going down,
a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. And
He said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that
is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years . .
. ” (Gen 15:12-13). With God, all things are truly possible.
When conversing with Job Eliphaz said he had visions in the night when “deep
sleep falls upon men” (Job 4:13). Job acknowledged the same experience (Job 33:15).
Earlier, in another vision, an angel communicated with Daniel while he was “in a
deep sleep on his face toward the ground” (8:18). Later, the angel will enable Daniel
to marshal his bodily energies. However, until then, the communication is going on.
It is not appropriate to make more of this occasion than the Spirit intends. The
point is that flesh is a severe limitation to us, and therefore must often be put to
the side in order that God can speak to us. It should be apparent to us that when our
flesh is dominant, it causes our inner ears to be deaf, and the eyes of our
understanding to become clouded.
The stage has now been set for a momentous revelation to be given to Daniel.
He has spent three full weeks mourning before he Lord, and seeking for an
understanding of things revealed to him. He is withdrawn from the normalities of life,
on the banks of the Tigris river. At this point those who were with him have been
repelled by their awareness of supernatural things, even though they did not see the
vision Daniel saw, nor hear the words that he heard.
If one wonders why Daniel has had such a disconcerting experience, remember
that he has been mourning for three full weeks, keenly aware of his own
shortcomings, and the reprehensible conduct of his people. Four years before this,
aware that the Babylonian captivity was about to end, he had raised an extended
prayer to the Lord in which he confessed his own sin and that of his people. He had
offered supplications for the holy city and the Temple, where God had placed His
In the midst of this, the mighty angel Gabriel had visited him, divulging the
coming Messiah, and how He would be cut off from the land of the living, thus
finishing transgression, making an end of sin, making reconciliation for iniquity,
bringing in everlasting righteousness, fulfilling the vision and prophecies of the ages,
and anointing the most holy place for the entrance of the redeemed of the Lord.
All of this had honed the spirit of this man of God to a fine edge, sensitizing him
to the purpose of God, and drawing him into holy involvement with that purpose. He
is more aware of heaven than of earth, and more alert to the Lord than to either Darius
As I said at the beginning of this lesson, this chapter prepares the way for the
last two chapters of Daniel. Some might wonder how this could be, since the eleventh
chapter begins with the words, “Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I,
stood to confirm and to strengthen him” (Dan 11:1). Since that first year of Darius
was considerably before the third year of Cyrus, how, then, can the tenth chapter
possibly be a prelude to chapters eleven and twelve? The answer is quite simple. The
first verse of chapter eleven are not the words of Daniel, but of the angel who begins
speaking to Daniel in the tenth chapter.
We therefore have every right to expect some remarkable insights to be
ministered in this chapter. We also have a beloved and sensitive prophet to
receive and record them. Be assured of this: nothing mediocre can come from this!