From Daniel 10-12
There are times in everyones life when we are weakened and we need to regain our strength. Daniel was weakened greatly by the vision he received from the LORD. An angel appears to him, touches and speaks to him. These actions strengthen Daniel so he is able to stand and speak. Jesus strengthens all those who abide in him. He is the vine, we are the branches. Seek your strength in him.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
Daniel continues to have visions. Today’s passage begins his last vision for the book. He refers to the visions as ‘words’. Words from the LORD. In this instance the word leaves him quite weakened. He needs strength and help because of the state the word has left him in.
10 In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a word was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar. And the word was true, and it was a great conflict. And he understood the word and had understanding of the vision.
2 In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. 3 I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks. (Da 10:1–3)
The word Daniel received was about a great conflict. Daniel understands the word and it leaves him mourning and fasting for three weeks.
Has anything ever affected you like this?
The word must have deeply affected and moved Daniel. Three weeks pass and someone appears to him. Someone from heaven.
4 On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river (that is, the Tigris) 5 I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a man clothed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. 6 His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude. (Da 10:4-6)
The man clothed in linen is not ordinary. His face is like lightning, his eyes flaming torches and his arms and legs metallic. His voice is fearful. Like the sound of a multitude of voices. He’s an angel.
‘Although it is strange that his name was not given as in the previous two visions (cf. 8:16; 9:21), many scholars identify this angel as Gabriel, a view that probably is correct. Gabriel served as a communicator of God’s messages on several occasions (cf. 8:15–16; 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26–27). Furthermore, the interpreting angel evidently had great power (cf. 11:1), which would be true of a prominent being like Gabriel.’ (Miller, S. R. (1994). Daniel (Vol. 18, p. 283). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)
I’m guessing he has Daniel’s attention.
7 And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision, but a great trembling fell upon them, and they fled to hide themselves. 8 So I was left alone and saw this great vision, and no strength was left in me. My radiant appearance was fearfully changed, and I retained no strength. 9 Then I heard the sound of his words, and as I heard the sound of his words, I fell on my face in deep sleep with my face to the ground. (Da 10:7-9)
We find out Daniel was not alone when he sees Gabriel. However Daniel was the only one who saw him. The men however are affected by the angels presence even though they don’t see him.
Have you ever sensed the presence of a being that you could not see?
The men fear the presence greatly and flee. Daniel remains. He is greatly weakened, no strength remains in him and he falls to the ground asleep.
10 And behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 11 And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you.” And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling.
12 Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. (Da 10:10-12)
Gabriel touches and he regains some of his strength. He is able to stand up trembling. Gabriel speaks some comforting words and commands him to stand upright. Gabriel commends Daniel for his attitude towards the LORD.
What does it look like to seek the LORD and humble yourself before him?
The angel continues. It seems he has been in battle.
13 The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, 14 and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.” (Da 10:13-14)
Who was this “prince of the Persian kingdom” who resisted Gabriel for three weeks?
(1) He must have been an angel since no human prince could have withstood Gabriel. Moreover, Israel’s “prince” was the angel Michael (10:21), and it is reasonable to suppose that in the same context the “prince” of Persia was also an angel.
(2) Since this prince opposed God’s angel, he may safely be assumed to have been an evil angel, that is, a demon.
Leupold remarks: “Bad angels, called demons in the New Testament, are, without a doubt, referred to here.” (3) He is called the “prince of the Persian kingdom,” so Persia must have been his special area of activity. Therefore this demon was either a powerful angel assigned to Persia by Satan or possibly he was Satan himself. Persia ruled the world in that day, and Satan would surely have concentrated his personal efforts in this most influential area. If the demon was Satan, it would explain why Michael, one of God’s most powerful angels, was needed to fight against him. (Miller, S. R. (1994). Daniel (Vol. 18, p. 285). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)
15 When he had spoken to me according to these words, I turned my face toward the ground and was mute. (Da 10:15)
Daniel is speechless. Stunned. These events do not happen everyday.
16 And behold, one in the likeness of the children of man touched my lips. Then I opened my mouth and spoke. I said to him who stood before me, “O my lord, by reason of the vision pains have come upon me, and I retain no strength. 17 How can my lord’s servant talk with my lord? For now no strength remains in me, and no breath is left in me.” (Da 10:16-17)
Daniel is touched again. He regains yet more strength.
Now he can speak, yet he recognises what he has lost. What he has gained has come from the LORD. His confession is an imlicit request for more. For help.
18 Again one having the appearance of a man touched me and strengthened me. 19 And he said, “O man greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage.” And as he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.” (Da 10:18–19)
Daniel is touched again. He regains still more strength. Gabriel comforts him again and the words strengthen Daniel still more.
20 Then he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? But now I will return to fight against the prince of Persia; and when I go out, behold, the prince of Greece will come. 21 But I will tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth: there is none who contends by my side against these except Michael, your prince. (Da 10:20–21)
Gabriel has come to Daniel to let him know of his battles and what is inscribed in the book of truth. This is revealed in the final three chapters of Daniel.
The spiritual battle Gabriel and Michael were involved in must have been immense. Behind the worldly powers stand spiritual forces (cf. Eph 6.12). In Judah’s time of exile the LORD was still waging battle with the forces of darkness and speaking to his elect.
Judah’s exile did not signal the end. The LORD was still involving her in his battle for his creation. His Christ was still to come.
Daniel was weakened by the LORD. The word from God took all his strength away. Yet through the passage he was strengthened by touch and by words of comfort. Jesus is greater than Gabriel. Jesus offers strength for all those who abide in him.
15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. (Jn 15:1–8)
Like Daniel there are times when we are weakened and have no strength. Pray to the LORD. Seek Jesus, abide in him. Remember you are not alone. Let him strengthen you.
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