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Daniel chapter 10

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New International Version

New American Standard Bible

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King James Version

New King James Version

What does Daniel chapter 10 mean?

When Daniel was first captured (Daniel 1:1–7) around the year 604 BC, he would have been a young man. What he sees in this passage occurs nearly seventy years later, around 536 BC. By this time, exiles are beginning to return to Jerusalem (Ezra 1:2–3) and endure the hardships of rebuilding their city (Ezra 3:8; 4:4–6). However, Daniel is still in Babylon, now under the control of the Persian Empire. Perhaps he was too old to relocate, or not allowed to leave. It's also possible he chose to remain to continue advocating for the people of Israel.

Daniel sees another vision, this one involving some major conflict. Most interpreters believe this is what shakes Daniel enough to go into mourning. What he saw will be explained in greater detail in chapters 11 and 1. That vision is explained or elaborated on in chapters 11 and 12. Strictly speaking, the specific timing and reason of Daniel's fast it not provided; it could be the vision that caused his mourning or it could be that Daniel was already in mourning when he saw the vision. Whatever the case, he was certainly deeply troubled (Daniel 10:1–3).

Apparently, Daniel's reaction to the vision was to seek God in prayer. While standing near the Tigris river, he is stunned by the sight of a celestial being. The creature looks like a man wearing linen and gold, with brilliantly shining limbs and face, and a voice like the roar of a crowd. Aspects of the description resemble those of Jesus in the book of Revelation (Revelation 1:13–16), making some commentators think this is a preincarnate vision of Christ. However, the person Daniel sees appears to be the same entity who speaks of being delayed by another spiritual power (Daniel 10:13). For this reason, it seems best to think of this being as an angel of high order. It is clearly not Michael (Daniel 10:13, 21). This is most likely the angel Gabriel, who often delivers messages from the Lord (Daniel 8:15–16; 9:21–22; Luke 1:26).Only Daniel sees this; the others with him merely sense the supernatural presence and run away. The encounter is so vivid and powerful that Daniel appears to pass out (Daniel 10:4–9).

Somone or something touches Daniel, restoring him enough to stand back up. Some commentators believe an entirely separate angel touches Daniel and begins to speak to him, but this seems unnatural to the text. More likely is that this is the same being he first saw. The angel reassures Daniel that he's come to answer prayers and explain Daniel's vision of the future. The delay was caused by a conflict with some other being, called "the prince of the kingdom of Persia." This is apparently a demon of some kind, exerting influence over that nation. The angel was unable to break free until aided by the archangel Michael (Jude 1:9; Revelation 12:7). This information again overwhelms Daniel, who stands with his face down in shock (Daniel 10:10–17).

Once again, Daniel is given strength and encouragement by the touch of his visitor. The angel calls Daniel "greatly loved" (Daniel 9:23) and notes that his visit is meant to explain what Daniel has seen. This interpretation is absolute truth: taken from the "book of truth." This does not mean a paper-and-ink object, but instead represents the perfection and accuracy of God's knowledge (Psalm 56:8; 139:16; 2 Samuel 7:28; Numbers 23:19). The angel prepares Daniel to withstand the intense information which is to come (Daniel 10:18–21).
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