We move out of Daniel’s prayer and into a vision he receives from God. Daniel is told what will happen to Israel in the future and we are given insight into the angelic realm. A central message in Chapter 10 is that our choices matter and have consequences. We are to be overcomers, follow Jesus, and be participants in that heavenly Kingdom Daniel envisions.
Remember in chapter 8 we looked at this little horn that was pompous, and that ended the sacrifice, that was the abomination of desolations—Antiochus IV—this person who precedes the antichrist in terms of a type.
And at the end of this chapter 8, in verse 27 it says. And I, Daniel, fainted and was sick for days; afterward I arose and went about the king’s business. I was astonished by the vision, but no one understood it.
So he had this vision, but he did not understand it. The people he shared it with didn’t understand it.
Then we did chapter 9 when he was praying for his people, and he got a different vision about how transgression is going to be ended and righteousness is going to come in, and the 70-weeks prophecy.
There were two things in there that were significant—well, there were a lot of significant things—but two things directly responsive to his prayer. One is, there is going to be a command to rebuild Jerusalem. That was in chapter 9. And the other is it’s going to fall again and then be rebuilt again, and then restoration. So this cycle is going to continue even though Jeremiah’s prophecy is going to come true, there’s a lot more yet to come. That’s chapter 9.
Preview of 10 and 11
Now we’re going to chapter 10 and 11. And in 10 and 11, we get a repeat of 8 because now we’re going to get Antiochus Epiphanes again. But this time, we’re going to get a whole string of events that lead up to Antiochus Epiphanes, the one who did the abomination of desolations. And then we’re going to skip a couple thousand years, and we’re going to get the antichrist. That’s what this prophecy is going to show.
It’s going to give us a lot of history about the Greek empire and in, particular, the Ptolemys and the Seleucids. And it’s actually going to be amazing because it’s such detail that God’s going to give us.
Now, we say it’s amazing, but God says, “My eye is on the sparrow,” and “I know every hair on your head,” so he tells us that he’s involved in the intricacies of life. That tends to just kind of go over our heads, doesn’t it? But we’re going to see the extent to which God is completely intermingled with history today.
Now this is history I don’t know very well. When I talk about the battle of Marathon or the battle of Thermopylae, I’ve been there. I’ve read about it for years. I talk about the battle between Xerxes and the alliance between Athens and Sparta; I’ve been to the Bay of Salamis. I’ve seen where that battle happened. I’ve been to the Plains of Plataea. I’ve read about it. I’ve studied it for years. So it’s something I actually have some familiarity with.
When you talk about all this soap opera between the Ptolemys and the Seleucids, this is all kind of new to me. So we’ll be learning it together.
Daniel receives a message
Let’s start in chapter 10 verse 1. In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar. The message was true, but the appointed time was long; and he understood the message, and had understanding of the vision.
At the end of chapter 8 we saw nobody understood it. This time it’s going to be understood. Perhaps that’s one of the significant reasons why he had this whole thing again about Antiochus Epiphanes. This time he understood it.
So, third year of Cyrus king of Persia—
Cyrus was already king of Persia before he defeated Babylon. But in the third year of having defeated Babylon—Babylon was defeated in 539 B.C. this would be 536 B.C. So 536 B.C. We’re counting towards the day of the Greeks. Cyrus being God’s servant who, probably by this time, has already said, “Go back to Jerusalem and repopulate it, rebuild the temple.”
Verse 2. In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks.
I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.
Now on the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, that is, the Tigris,
I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz!
His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude.
He tells us specifically what day of the year this is, which is kind of interesting. You wonder, why is that?
It could be because the first month is the month in which Passover takes place, the 14th day of the first month is Passover. And then the feast of weeks is the week after that. And the day after the feast of Passover, you count three weeks and then you have what we call Pentecost. It’s 50 days later. This is the last day of unleavened bread.
He would have been fasting and so forth during the period of Passover and the feast of unleavened bread and ten days into this waiting period for the Pentecost. So this is kind of holiday season. Perhaps that’s why he tells us this. Because, of course, Passover is deliverance, and then the feast of unleavened bread is righteousness, take leaven out and so forth.
And then the Pentecost is the day where traditionally the Torah was given on Mount Sinai; and, of course, in the New Testament the law is written in our hearts because we get the Holy Spirit. So you’ve got this time of righteousness and delivery; and, of course, he’s praying for understanding during this time of righteousness and delivery, understanding about the delivery of Israel. So it kind of makes sense.
Verse 7. And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision; but a great terror fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.
This is reminiscent of Paul when he was on the road, and he saw Jesus. The people with him did not see Jesus; but in his case, they heard the voice. So apparently, when you do these visions, God can kind of tune in who’s in and who’s out, almost like a cell phone. You’re either on the cell, or you’re not on the cell. Or you’re on that channel, or you’re not on that channel.
Daniel saw the vision, but everybody else felt it. And that’s one of the things we’re going to be seeing in chapter 10: If it’s not complicated enough that the idea that we are choosing and our choices are free, and they’re real, and they make an impact on history. At the same time, God is orchestrating history, and nothing happens that he doesn’t prescribe. If that’s not amazing enough, there’s another layer in here of angels who are acting; and their actions also impact this whole drama.
It’s actually a three-fold paradox that we have here, and we’re going to see that in spades.
The spiritual realm is something that impacts us. That’s going to become very clear as we go through this.
Verse 8. Therefore I was left alone—because they ran—when I saw this great vision, and no strength remained in me; for my vigor was turned to frailty in me, and I retained no strength.
Yet I heard the sound of his words; and while I heard the sound of his words I was in a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground.
We can’t bear the presence of angels, but we will one day judge them
He basically passes out from fear. And we see this as a typical response to these angelic beings when they come in their glory. We see sometimes they don’t seem to come in overwhelming glory, and sometimes they do. And when they do, people fall down.
Verse 10. Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands.
And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling.
And again, when we see these things like we saw in Revelation, John fell down like a dead man. He was touched and restored. This is a pattern that occurs throughout the scripture. And we cannot really even function in the presence of these angelic beings when they come in their glory.
And these are the people that we are supposed to be preparing to judge. Isn’t that crazy? That’s what it means to be an overcomer and share his throne is to be over people like this that, in our current state, we cannot even be in their presence without falling on our face and losing our strength. Do you see the magnitude of this?
These are the guys, by the way, watching us to learn about God, guys like this. It’s hard to wrap your mind around, isn’t it? But that’s the magnitude of the importance of our lives here on earth. Our life is something that is preparing us to rule people like this, if we’re overcomers.
The messenger is held up 21 days
Verse 12. Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.
But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.
Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.”
What is this about?
You’ve got this angel here, and he says, sorry I’m late. You started praying 21 days ago, and I was on my way, but I got deterred.
Now, I don’t know about all you guys, but you’ve probably been sent for an errand somewhere and then got distracted, and then gotten home and, had an excuse, haven’t you?
My wife’s favorite one is she sent me to the store to get some milk, and I came home with a new truck. It was a 1968 solid steel General Motors truck that I had to take the seat out and put an old Suburban seat in there. It was Lee’s first car. It was great. He had multiple wrecks, never got a dent. It was a tank.
And so, he’s like, I was on my way. I was sent immediately when you first started praying. I didn’t want you to think we were delaying or anything. But on the way, the prince of the kingdom of Persia stopped me, and I couldn’t get past him because I was by myself.
Now, what that means is that there are these angels the prince of the kingdom of Persia is clearly an angelic being, and this angel here—he doesn’t give us his name—he’s clearly an angelic being.
And we’re going to see as we go through here, they’re fighting; and he got deterred because the prince of the king of Persia didn’t want him to get through and give this message to Daniel.
Well, there’s more. We’ll see more as we come.
What’s going to happen to Israel in the future days
Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days—that was Daniel’s prayer. “I want to know about what’s happening to our people.” He had prayed about Jeremiah’s prophecy. He was praying for his country. I want to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.”
I’m telling you something that’s way in the future. This many days yet to come we saw we’re in 536, and Antiochus Epiphanes, who’s going to be kind of the central character in this prophecy, died in 164. So we’re headed several hundred years in the future.
And then, of course, we’re going to look at the second Antiochus Epiphanes, the second fulfillment, the second abomination of desolations, and that’s even yet to come in our time. We’re talking about several thousand years, so hundreds and then thousands of years. “Many days yet to come.”
Verse 15 of Daniel 10. When he had spoken such words to me, I turned my face toward the ground and became speechless. Once again, this being who is overwhelming Daniel with both the content and the presence of his person, and this is the guy who’s studying us to understand the wisdom of God according to Ephesians. It’s amazing.
Verse 16. And suddenly, one having the likeness of the sons of men touched my lips; then I opened my mouth and spoke, saying to him who stood before me, “My lord, because of the vision my sorrows have overwhelmed me, and I have retained no strength.
For how can this servant of my lord talk with you, my lord? As for me, no strength remains in me now, nor is any breath left in me.”
Then again, the one having the likeness of a man touched me and strengthened me.
Once again, we’ve got these angelic beings strengthening Daniel. There’s a physical transfer of energy from the spiritual realm into the physical realm. These angels are directly interacting with us and they’re an integral part of this grand drama that we’re playing.
Verse 19. And he said, “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!” These words of strength.
Part of it, apparently, has to do with Daniel’s will, and part of it has to do with an actual flow of energy.
So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”
Then he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of Greece will come.
But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth.
This same messenger strengthened Darius
Now here, you know these chapters and verses are arbitrary. Apparently when the guy did chapter 10 and 11, he didn’t understand Daniel either because he cut 10 and 11 in the middle of a thought. We’re going to go to the first verse of 11 with this.
Then he has this parenthetical comment:
(No one upholds me against these—the prince of Greece and the prince of Persia—except Michael your prince.
“Also in the first year of Darius the Mede, I, even I, stood up to confirm and strengthen him.)
Here I am, Daniel. You are on your face, and I strengthened you. You know what? I came in and strengthened Darius in the first year of the Persian empire.
Well, now, wait a minute. Is Darius a Jew? No, Darius is not a Jew. Darius is in Persia, right? And the princes of Persia clearly are demonic powers. So they’re fighting with this angel, whoever this angel is, and this angel went and strengthened Darius.
But it was Cyrus/Darius who gave this command—Darius either is Cyrus or is under Cyrus. Cyrus is the one who gave the command to go rebuild the temple. So it makes perfect sense that it would be an angel of God that would be strengthening him in the way. And furthermore, Darius is the one who wanted Daniel to be delivered from the lion’s den and elevated Daniel in his place.
So you’ve got the prince of Persia who is a demonic power over Persia. You still have the angel of God interceding in Persia to strengthen the king to be righteous. So, there’s a lot more going on in the world than what’s in the newspaper. You agree with that? Matter of fact, most of what in newspaper actually isn’t going on in the world. It’s mostly fake, as we now know.
This angelic realm is going crazy. And he says I’m going to go fight the prince of Persia, and after I get done fighting him, I’m going to start fighting the prince of Greece.
Insight into the angelic realm
Now he says here, No one upholds me…except Michael your prince.
This is really fascinating. You can take this a couple of ways. One is this is a whining angel, the angel of whining. “Nobody helps me except…” I don’t think that’s—probably that’s not the case. I think what he’s probably saying is really the only one strong enough to get me over the hump is Michael.
And, now, who is Michael the prince? This gives us a little bit of insight into this angelic realm. Lest you think, well, how do we know that’s really angelic? I think this will put a bow on it to make sure we know that.
Look at Daniel 10:13. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me—So Michael is a chief prince. He’s not just a—this word prince just means ruler. It can mean keeper. It can mean head. It just means somebody that’s in charge.
Michael is one of the top-tier princes, so there’s obviously a hierarchy within the angelic realm. Sometimes called archangel. Arch means the top. There are guys that are bosses and guys that are chiefs and Indians within the angelic realm. Michael’s one of the most-powerful guys, one at the top.
In Daniel 12:1, which is just ahead of us a little bit, it says:
“At that time Michael shall stand up,
The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people;
Michael has a special role that is to oversee Israel. We see demonic princes who have a special role to oversee governments and spheres of influence, geopolitical influence. And we also have angelic creatures that have a special realm of some sort over geopolitical and some that are apparently messengers. Apparently, we also have some that guard children.
Revelation 12:7 is really interesting about Michael. It says, And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out—
There’s all this fighting, and this is, of course, in the future, this time period. That’s a Revelation passage. So there’s all this angelic fighting. Eventually Michael and his angels are going to cast Satan and his angels out from having access to heaven anymore. Right now they can go into heaven.
And as we’ve seen in Job, Satan is up there walking around in heaven with the other angels because that’s where the trash-talking episode happens between God and Satan over Job. That eventually will come to an end.
And then Jude 1:9 is really fascinating. It says, Yet Michael the archangel—So Michael is one of the top guys—in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
So even though Michael is really strong and can come and help this angel overcome the princes of Persia, Michael, when he’s facing Satan directly does not exercise authority over Satan directly.
Because remember Satan, Lucifer, was the top of all the angels. And that was not good enough for him. He said, you know, now that I’m top of all the angels, and the most beautiful, and the most intelligent, I now want your throne, God. I do not want to take orders from you anymore. I want my own kingdom. And that was the original fall of Satan. He took a third of the angels with him. And so that’s the fight that’s been going on ever since.
By our dependence on God, we can outperform Satan
And we play a really significant role in demonstrating that the babies, the ones that are newbies, that are far, far, far inferior in power, as we see in this passage, can, by dependence on God, dramatically outperform Satan. And he’s going to put us in charge because of our dependence.
He sent Jesus as a forerunner of that—who did nothing of his own will and only depended on God even though he actually could be independent. And he’s asking us to follow in those footsteps and say, “Follow us.”
You can see all this in Psalm 8 that says we were made a little lower than the angels but crowned with glory and honor because we were crowned to be the people who ruled the earth. But you can look at Hebrews 2 and it quotes Psalm 8, and it says, “But now we do not see man crowned with glory and honor.” Boy, that’s a giant understatement isn’t it? We are not really in harmony with one another in ruling the earth in perfect harmony with God and one another, are we?
That’s the design; that’s not what’s happening.
Hebrews 2 says, “But what we do see is Jesus who for the suffering of death was crowned with glory and honor.” And he has paved the way for us to get back to where we were originally designed through the suffering of death, which is suffering the unjust persecution.
When we follow Jesus, we’re actually putting ourselves in a position to join this angelic world, essentially; and these beings will be under us. That’s what this overcomer path of living a life of dependent servitude and totally following God is all about. It’s kind of mind boggling.