Daniel and Revelation

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Verse 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.

This verse introduces the last recorded vision of the prophet Daniel, the instruction imparted to him at this time being continued through Daniel 11 and 12. The death of Daniel is supposed to have occurred soon after this, he being at this time, according to Prideaux, not less then ninety years of age.

Verse 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.

Daniel’s Sorrow. —The marginal reading for “three full weeks” is “weeks of days,” here used to distinguish the time spoken of from the weeks of years brought to view in the preceding chapter.

For what purpose did this aged servant of God thus humble himself and afflict his soul? —Evidently to understand more fully the divine purpose concerning events that were to befall the church of God. The divine messenger sent to instruct him says, “From the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand.” Verse 12. There was still something, then, which Daniel did not understand. What was it? Undoubtedly it was some part of the vision of Daniel 8, of which Daniel 9 was but a further explanation. As the result of his supplication, he now receives more minute information respecting the events included in the great outlines of his former visions.

This mourning of the prophet is supposed to have been accompanied with fasting, not an absolute abstinence from

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food, but a use of only the plainest and most simple articles of diet. He ate no pleasant bread, no delicacies or dainties; he used no flesh or wine; and he did not anoint his head, which was to the Jews an outward sign of fasting. How long he would have continued this fast had he not received the answer to his prayer, we do not know, but his course in continuing it for three weeks shows that he was not a person to cease his supplications till his petition was granted.

Verse 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.

The word Hiddekel in the Syriac is applied to the Euphrates River; in the Vulgate, Greek, and Arabic, to the Tigris; therefore some conclude that the prophet had this vision where these rivers unite, near the Persian Gulf.

A most majestic being visited Daniel on this occasion. The description here given of him is almost parallel to the description of Christ in Revelation 1:14-16. Also since the effect on Daniel was experienced was similar to that experienced by Paul and his companions when the Lord appeared to them on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-7), we conclude that Christ Himself appeared to Daniel. We learn in verse 13 that Michael had come to assist Gabriel in influencing the Persian king. How natural then that He should show Himself to Daniel on this occasion.

Verse 10 And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. 11 And he said unto

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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.

Gabriel Encourages Daniel. —After Daniel had fallen at the majestic appearance of Christ, the angel Gabriel, obviously the speaker in verse 11-13, laid his hand upon him to give him assurance and confidence. He told Daniel that he was a man greatly beloved. Wonderful declaration! A member of the human family, one of the same race with us, loved, not merely in the general sense in which God loved the whole world when He gave His Son to die for mankind, but loved as individual, and that greatly! Well might the prophet receive confidence from such a declaration as that! He tells him, moreover, that he is come for the purpose of an interview with him, and he wishes him to bring his mind into a proper state to understand the words. Being thus assured, the holy and beloved prophet stood trembling, before the angel.

“Fear not, Daniel,” continued Gabriel. He had no occasion to fear before one, even though a heavenly being, who had been sent to him because he was greatly beloved, and in answer to his earnest prayer. Nor ought the people of God of any age to entertain a servile fear of any of those agents who are sent forth to minister to their salvation. There is, however, a disposition manifested among far too many to conceive of Jesus and His angels as only stern ministers of justice, rather than as beings who are earnestly working for their salvation. The presence of an angel, should he appear bodily before them, would strike them with terror, and the thought that Christ is soon to appear distresses and alarms them. We recommend to such more of that perfect love which casts out all fear.

Verse 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.

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Gabriel Delayed by the King of Persia. —How often the prayers of God’s people are heard while as yet there is no apparent answer! It was even so in this case with Daniel. The angel told him that from the first day he set his heart to understand, his words were heard. Yet Daniel continued to afflict his soul with fasting, and to wrestle with God for three full weeks, unaware that any respect had been paid to his petition. But unaware that any respect had been paid to his petition. But why was the delay? The king of Persia withstood the angel. The answer to Daniel’s prayer involved some action on the part of that king. This action he must be influenced to perform. It doubtless pertained to the work which he was to do, and had already begun to do, in behalf of the temple at Jerusalem and the Jews, his decree for the building of that temple being the first of the series which finally constituted that notable commandment to restore and build Jerusalem, at the going forth of which the great prophetic period of 2300 days was to begin. The angel was dispatched to influence him to go forward in accordance with the divine will.

How little do we realize what is going on in the unseen world in relation to human affairs! Here the curtain is for a moment lifted, and we catch a glimpse of the movements within. Daniel prays. The Creator of the universe hears. The command is issued to Gabriel to go to his relief. But the king of Persia must act before Daniel’s prayer is answered, and the angel hastens to the Persian king. Satan no doubt musters his forces to oppose. They meet in the royal palace of Persia. All the motives of selfish interest and worldly policy which Satan can play upon, he doubtless uses to the best advantage to influence the king against compliance with God’s will, while Gabriel brings to bear his influence in the other direction. The king struggles between conflicting emotions. He hesitates; he delays. Day after day passes away, yet Daniel prays on. The king still refuses to yield to the influence of the angel. Three weeks expire, and lo, a mightier than Gabriel joins him in the palace of the king, and then they come to Daniel to acquaint him with progress of events. From the

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first, said Gabriel, your prayer was heard; but during these three weeks which you have devoted to prayer and fasting, the king of Persia has resisted my influence and prevented my coming.

Such was the effect of prayer. God has erected no barriers between Himself and His people since Daniel’s time. It is still their privilege to offer up prayer as fervent and effectual as his, and, like Jacob, to have power with God, and to prevail.

Who was Michael, who here came to Gabriel’s assistance? The term signifies, “He who is like God,” and the Scriptures clearly show that Christ is the one who bears this name. Jude (verse 9) declares that Michael is the Archangel. This word signifies “head, or chief, angel,” and in our text Gabriel calls Him “one [or, as the margin reads, “the first”] of the chief princes.” There can be but one archangel, and hence it is manifestly improper to use the word in the plural as some do. The Scriptures never so use it. In 1 Thessalonians 4:16, Paul states that when the Lord appears the second time to raise the dead, the voice of the archangel is heard. Whose voice is heard when the dead are raised? —The voice of the Son of God. (John 5:28.) Taken together, these scriptures prove that the dead are called from their graves by the voice of the Son of God, that the voice which is then heard is the voice of the Archangel, proving that the Archangel is the Son of God, and that the Archangel is called Michael, from which it follows that Michael is the Son of God. In the last verse of Daniel 10, He is called “your Prince,” and in the first of Daniel 12, “the great Prince which standeth for the children of thy people,” expressions which can appropriately be applied to Christ, but to no other being.

Verse 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.

The expression, “yet the vision is for many days,” reaching far into the future, and embracing what should befall the people of God even in the latter days, shows conclusively that the

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2300 days given in that vision cannot mean literal days, but must be days of years. (See comments on Daniel 9:25-27.)

Verse 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.

One of the most marked characteristics manifested by Daniel was the tender solicitude he felt for his people. Having come now clearly to comprehend that the vision portended long ages of oppression and suffering for the church, he was so affected by the view that his strength departed from him, his breath ceased, and the power of speech was gone. The vision of verse 16 doubtless refers to the former vision of Daniel 8.

Verse 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 show 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.

The prophet is at length strengthened to hear in full the communication which the angel has to make. Gabriel says, “Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee?” Do you understand my purpose so that you will no more fear? He then announced his intention to return, as soon as his communication was complete, to fight with the king of Persia. The word {Hebrew- su]} im, signifying “with,” is, in the Septuagint, {Greek- metav} meta, and signifies, not “against,” but “in common with, alongside of;” that is, the angel of God would stand on the side of the Persian kingdom as long as it was in the providence of God

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that that kingdom should continue. “And when I am gone forth,” continued Gabriel, “lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.” That is, when he withdraws his support from that kingdom, and the providence of God operates in behalf of another kingdom, the prince of Grecia shall come, and the Persian monarchy shall be overthrown.

Gabriel then announced that none had an understanding with him in the matters he was about to communicate except Michael the Prince. After he had made them known to Daniel, there were four beings in the universe who possessed a knowledge of these important truths —Daniel, Gabriel, Christ, and God. Four links appear in this chain of witnesses —the first, Daniel, a member of the human family; the last, Jehovah, the God of all!