Bible Ballistics: Amazing Revelations-Part 1??? Vol. 6#25
We looked at the subject of “angels” last week in preparation for delving into Daniel chapters 10-12. These three chapters are all one dream/vision, which Daniel received from God, and to understand it’s import will take us some time, so we will spend the next two or three weeks laying this great section of scripture out in bite-sized pieces. While we won’t be going into great detail we will try to lay out the “main” things and let them be the “plain” things. Remember that we never interpret the “obvious” in light of the “obscure”, but we do lay out the “obvious” and let it shed light on the “obscure”. We also need to remember that there are just some things that we do not yet understand; and that scripture is spiritually discerned and sometimes we just don’t have enough information or personal maturity in the Lord to understand it all, yet. So our goal is to simply lay it out as accurately as we can, and to discern as much as possible of what God has revealed. And more importantly, how it should affect our lives, our behavior, and our testimony before the world.
“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 colour 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. 10 And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands.” Daniel 10:1-10
This encounter takes place about two years after the vision of chapter 9. It was in the first year of Darius the Mede, and this tenth chapter takes place in the third year of Cyrus the Persian. What we must remember is that this is the Medo-Persian Kingdom, and that they have co-rulers, one from each side of the house, so to speak. We see in verse 1 a confirmation of the veracity of this vision, and that it’s fulfillment is in the distant future. While some parts of it are closer in time than others, it all points to the things of the “end times”. The skeptics rail on this particular section of Daniel and insist that someone else must have written it, and much later than Daniel lived. And the reason they do so, is because the events that Daniel describes played out so historically accurate that the critics say it couldn’t have been prophesied as far in advance as Daniel’s life would demand. But “they” don’t understand and believe that our God is the God of all history; that He knows the end from the beginning!!! Amen!
In verses 2-3 we see that Daniel was practicing a period of mourning and fasting for three weeks. While we’re not told why he was in this period of intense focus on his God, we know that his sense of devotion and discernment may have lead him to this time. We’re just not told any of the issues that were on his heart, but we did see his burden for his people in his prayer from chapter 9.
In verses 4-6 Daniel sees the “man in linen” for the first time. While the description parallels the description that John gives of The Lord Jesus in Revelation 1, I will just say that it could be a “pre-incarnate” appearance of Jesus or simply a messenger/angel sent by God given this particular appearance before Daniel. We are just not going to be distracted by the messenger and miss the message. Daniel goes on to tell us that he alone saw the vision; but some sort of ‘quaking’ or ‘dread’ affected the men who were with him and they fled away from him. Oh, to be in the presence of such a man of God!
Daniel is so overwhelmed by this sight, that he passes out at the sound of this ‘mans’ words, then a hand (he doesn’t say whose hand) touches him and he rises from flat on his face, to be on his hands and knees. Then comes the message.
“And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.
12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. 14 Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days. 15 And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb.
16 And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength. 17 For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me. 18 Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me, 19 And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me.
20 Then said he,
Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight
with the prince of Persia:
and when I am gone forth,
lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.
21 But I will shew thee
that which is noted in the scripture of truth:
and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.” Daniel 10:11-21
Verse 11 is one of the verses in all of scripture that I pray for and desire to be true of me: “O Daniel, a man greatly beloved”. To be a child of God that could hear these words from the heart of my God!!! I can think of nothing greater to strive for in this life than to hear “well done, thou good and faithful servant” and that before God I could be worthy of hearing “greatly beloved” from my King. Oh, dear ones, I so regret how easily I am distracted from the work of the Lord so often. The demands of life, the techno-whirl that calls us on every hand, just the weakness of the flesh—all have the potential to pull us away from our devotion to our Lord God and His Son Jesus Christ. May we take this opportunity to re-commit ourselves to strive for a deeper and more discerning focus on the things of God, to a more faithful commitment to His Word, and to a deeper consciousness of the affect I should have on the world.
As this “messenger” speaks we see he is sent from God to Daniel, and Daniel is finally able to stand to his feet. How I wish we could regain the “awe” and “reverential” aspect of our relationship to God Almighty. We live in a culture, even a Christian culture that often negates and ignores the awesome and unparalleled nature and character of our God—He IS Holy—was, is and ever shall be HOLY God. Not to be regarded flippantly or, as He often is, even disregarded and equated with a level of mere mortals. A sad state of affairs, especially when it the state in many so-called “churches”!
Verses 12-13 are the main reasons that I personally don’t believe this “messenger” to be a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus, Himself. And the reason? We find here an awesome picture of “spiritual warfare”. This messenger was sent from God when Daniel had begun his season of fasting and mourning before God. But this messenger of God encountered other “angelic” opposition from the demonic angelic realm. He was delayed for three weeks, before he was able to get to Daniel. Now if this had been “Jesus”, I don’t see any powers detaining Him, in any way. But one of the other angelic messengers would be a different case, and only when the archangel Michael came to help did the messenger prevail, and got to Daniel after this three-week delay. This is the same thing that Paul refers to in Ephesians 6:10-19. There are battles going on around us of which we are totally unaware in this world. But God is at work, and sovereign over all these things and will continue to accomplish HIS purposes, and speak to His people in His time and His ways. Don’t become weary precious friend because you haven’t heard from God in the time you expected. HE IS AT WORK ON YOUR BEHALF. You just press on in the power of the Holy Spirit, the comfort and encouragement of the Word of God, and the wise counsel of spiritually mature believers who live out what they believe daily and help and encourage you!
Once again our messenger tells Daniel that he is come to give him a message and understanding of the things of the end. Many things that will affect his people—the people of Israel greatly, and almost continually. And affect them in the near future as well as the long-distant future, in fact to the very end of time. These words again leave Daniel speechless!
As we look at the rest of the passage, I’d like us to jump to verse 21, “But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth”. This messenger is sent with a message of truth directly from God, and “the truth”, Jesus! We don’t have to worry about God’s Word being diluted—He has it recorded in heaven, by the very one who spoke it all into the hearts of His own. Our job is to read it, study it and come to know HIM through His very Word of Truth—both the man and the book!!! His Spirit will direct us if we but yield!
Someone once again touches Daniel, and we simply won’t take time to get into the debate of how many were there with Daniel. There was at least one, but there could have been more than one. It’s just not something that we will spend time on in this brief article. In the discourse between Daniel and this messenger/messengers Daniel once again becomes weak and is touched and strengthened by “one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me”. If we compare this to the messenger he saw at the beginning, it might be an additional messenger who did not have the same appearance as the “man in linen”. It’s just one of those obscure things which we won’t allow to distract us from the message. You can study it more this week, and see what conclusions you come up with.
Daniel is strengthened to receive the message, but we don’t need to stop here as this continues into chapter 11, and it’s imperative that we understand that chapter 11 is a continuation of this dialogue with the messenger. Chapter 11 is the angel still speaking and clarifying for Daniel the “spiritual warfare” that he has encountered and how great a part this plays in the “seen” things, which are affected by the “unseen”!
“Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him. 2 And now will I shew thee the truth.” Daniel 11:1-2a
This messenger declares that he has been at work in the part of the kingdom under Darius the Mede from the beginning (See chapters 5 & 6 for this transition). And then he goes on to reveal to Daniel the actual message:
“Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia.” Daniel 11:2b
Daniel sees the future of the Medo-Persian Empire in more detail. Remember he was given a brief description of this in chapter 8. The Medes and Persians would rule together for a time, and then the Persians would rise to prominence throughout the end of their kingdom. They would then enrage a growing Grecian Empire. The vision continues:
“And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. 4 And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.” Daniel 11:3-4
Here Daniel is once again given the picture of the Greeks who will arise as the next world kingdom. Parallel with the vision he was given in chapter 8, Alexander the Great is pictured here, as well as his untimely demise. Daniel is also told again that the kingdom will continue but under four different sections, with four different rulers; none of whom were related to Alexander, as he died without wife or offspring. It took more than 20 years for four of Alexander’s generals to divvy up the kingdom into four main sections, but the directions of the wind; a Northern kingdom, Southern kingdom, Eastern kingdom, and Western kingdom: Lysimachus, Cassander, Seleucus, and Ptolemy being the generals. They divided the kingdom this way: Lysimachus received Thrace and most of Asia Minor. Cassander obtained Macedonia and Greece. Ptolemy was given Egypt, Palestine, Cilicia, Petra, and Cyprus while Seleucus controlled the rest of Asia: Syria, Babylon, Persia, and India.
We will stop here for now, but as you read on into chapter 11 and 12, remember that the two main kingdoms that are dealt with are the “South” and the “North”. This would be the Selucid Dynasty of the “North” and the Ptolemy Dynasty of the “South”. I would suggest that you get out a map of the Mediterranean and see what lies between these two areas? Why would this be important to Daniel? We’ll look at those questions and answers next week. I hope this will challenge you to dig in and see what God has to say, and why it is important to both Daniel and his people, Israel?