Daniel 10:1-7; Mourning and a Vision of Glory ~ 20221016 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org
10/16_Daniel 10:1-7; Mourning and a Vision of Glory; Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20221016_dan10_1-7.mp3
Context of the Book
We are in Daniel chapter 10 today.
Chapters 10-12 are a record of one final and extensive revelation given to Daniel. Chapter 10 is an introduction to the prophecy, chapter 11 includes the word itself, and chapter 12 is a conclusion to the prophecy. This is the fourth prophecy given to Daniel.
In Daniel 7, in the first year of Belshazzar, Daniel was given a dream of four fearful beasts arising from the sea. In chapter 8, in the third year of Belshazzar, Daniel was given a vision of a powerful ram, a goat and a little horn. Chapter 9, in the first year of Darius, records Daniel’s prayer and the message of the seventy sevens given to Daniel. Chapters 10-12 record the final revelation given in the third year of Cyrus (likely another name of Darius).
Daniel 10:1 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.
The word of revelation given to Daniel in these chapters is trustworthy. And it was a great conflict. This word can speak of great warfare or great suffering. This word has to do with great conflict, great affliction, great warfare, both on earth and in heaven.
Daniel claims to understand this vision in contrast to previous visions. In chapter 8 he sought to understand the vision, and even though he was given some understanding, by the end of the chapter he says ‘I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it.’ But this doesn’t mean he understood every detail; in chapter 12 he heard but did not understand, and he is told ‘go your way, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end’ (12:8-9).
Daniel 10:2 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. 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)
Daniel says he was mourning literally ‘for three sevens of days’ in contrast to the sevens or weeks of years in the prophecy of chapter 9. He dates this period as ending on the 24th day of the first month, which counting back 21 days would have begun on the 3rd day of the first month. The first month of the religious year was counted at the time of the exodus from Egypt, the Jewish month of Nisan or Abib (Ex.12:2-3, 6). Families were instructed to select a lamb on the 10th of the month, and sacrifice it on the 14th of the month at passover. The 14th through the 21st of the month they were to celebrate the feast of unleavened bread. So Daniel’s time of mourning went right through the passover celebration.
To put this into its historical context, Daniel and his friends were deported to Babylon in 605 BC. Nebuchadnezzar returned to destroy Jerusalem and the temple in 586 BC. It was 539 BC, during the blasphemous feast in chapter 5 of the wicked Belshazzar, that Babylon fell to Cyrus the Persian (also named Darius the Mede; Dan.6:28). In the first year of Cyrus (538 BC), he issued an edict allowing return of the people of Israel to their land to rebuild their temple (Ezra 1:2). It was also around this time that Daniel was thrown to the lions for praying. The following year (537), only 42,360 Jews returned to Jerusalem (Ezra 2:64). They eagerly dedicated the altar and celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles in October of that year. But by the next year, 536 BC, the third year of Cyrus, the foundation of temple had still not been built. It seemed the work on the temple had come to a standstill. Now it was time to celebrate the first passover back in the land in 50 years, a celebration of God’s deliverance of his people from captivity. But although they were now officially free, many preferred to remain in the comforts of Babylon.
Fasting and Mourning
So Daniel was mourning.
Daniel 10:2 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.
Daniel was mourning, and a common expression of grief was fasting. This was apparently not a complete fast; he abstained from delicacies, meat and wine. If he abstained from these for three weeks, it implies that his normal practice was to enjoy these good gifts from God. We saw back in chapter 1, that upon being brought to Babylon to be assimilated into Babylonian culture and religion, he had resolved not to defile himself with the king’s food or wine. Now close to 70 years later, he was free to enjoy these good things, but for a set time he went without.
Fasting is a way to remind ourselves that God is more essential and more satisfying than food. Not much is said in the New Testament about fasting, and fasting is never commanded. Jesus fasted forty days before his temptation. When asked why his disciples did not fast, he said:
Matthew 9:15 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.
He was saying that the time for mourning would come, but not while he was present with them. In Matthew 6, he assumes that his followers would fast, and gives instructions on what that should and should not look like;
Matthew 6:16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
When you fast, do not do it to impress people. In Luke 18, Jesus makes a negative example of a Pharisee who boasts to God that he fasts twice a week as if that made him better than others. Jesus said ‘everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself witll be exalted.’
In Acts 13 we see the early church fasting and worshiping the Lord when they were directed to appoint Barnabas and Saul for ministry, and in Acts 14 they appointed elders in every church with prayer and fasting.
In Daniel 9, Daniel ‘turned his face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes’ as he confesses his sins and the sins of his people. And here in Daniel 10, he goes without delicacies, meat or wine, and he does not anoint himself with the usual daily hygeine as a way of mourning, humbling himself before God in prayer (v.12).
The Man Clothed in Linen?
Daniel 10:4 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. 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.
Daniel is on the bank of the Tigris river, outside of Babylon. The Euphrates flowed right through Babylon, but the Tigris came within about 20 miles of the city. Daniel is not alone, but he alone sees the vision, and those who were with him flee in fear.
What he sees is a supernatural being above the river. This one is not named, although we know it is not Michael, as he is named later in the chapter. It is likely not Gabriel, as he is introduced in chapter 8, and then when he appears again in chapter 9, he is identified as the same one Daniel had seen in the earlier vision.
He is simply described as a man clothed in linen. Gabriel is described as a man, implying human form in chapter 9, but the divine cloud rider from chapter 7 is also described as ‘one like a Son of Man.’
Linen was the clothing of priests, and it pictured holiness. White linen was the typical clothing of angels. At the transfiguration, Jesus’ clothing became white as light (Mt.17:2).
This one had a belt of fine gold around his waist. Gold is a symbol of royalty and sovereignty. Angels in Revelation 15 were clothed in pure bright linen with golden sashes.
His body was like beryl, a semi-transparent precious gem shining with glory. His face was like lightning, flashing with power. His eyes were like flaming torches, demonstrating piercing knowledge. His arms and legs gleamed like burnished bronze, symbolic of fiery judgment, like the bronze altar of burnt offering. The sound of his words was like the sound of a multitude.
This could be a description of a great unnamed angel. We have a similar description of an angel in Revelation 10;
Revelation 10:1 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. 2 He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, 3 and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded.
A Vision of God?
But there are also many similarities with Ezekiel’s vison of God who rides on the cherubim in Ezekiel 1.
Ezekiel 1:25 And there came a voice from above the expanse over their heads. When they stood still, they let down their wings. 26 And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance. 27 And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him. 28 Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.
But there are even more similarities with the vision given to John in Revelation 1.
Revelation 1:12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
A man / one like a son of man; clothed in linen / clothed with a long robe; with a belt of fine gold / with a golden sash; his eyes like flaming torches / his eyes like a flame of fire; his face like lightning / his face like the sun shining in full strength; his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze / his feet like burnished bronze; the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude / his voice like the roar of many waters. When Daniel saw this one, ‘no strength was left in me; I fell on my face in deep sleep with my face to the ground.’ When John saw Jesus, he says ‘I fell at his feet as though dead.’
We can’t say for sure, but the imagery seems like an almost one to one match. This could be a mighty angel, but he is presented with a more graphic and symbolic description than any of the other angels in Daniel. Quite possibly this is an appearance of God the Son hundreds of years before his incarnation.
Omnipotence Receiving Help
The main objection to this is that he was detained for 21 days by the prince of Persia, and required the assistant of Michael the Archangel. If this were God himself, it seems to deny his omnipotence to say he was detained and in need of help.
Some have suggested that the one who touched Daniel and then spoke beginning in verse 10 is different from the one who was seen above the waters; that Daniel saw a vision of God, and then an angel was the one who spoke. This is possible, but there is no clear indication in the text that the one who is seen is not also the one who speaks in the rest of the chapter.
Based on this some conclude that this cannot be God appearing, but must be a great angel. But does it deny the omnipotence of God to say that Jacob wrestled with God and was allowed to prevail against him (Gen.32:24-30)? Satan is already defeated at the cross, he will be one day finally thrown down, but he is still allowed before the throne of God to accuse us day and night (Rev.12:10). But ‘we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous’ (1Jn.2:10), ‘who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us’ (Rom.8:34; Heb.7:25). Jesus is omnipotent God, he has already conquered, but he has not yet fully exercised his right. He is also patient.
Jesus in his incarnation remained fully God, retaining all the attributes of God. He was fully omnipotent, yet he refrained from turning stones to bread to satisfy himself. He became hungry, thirsty, tired and weary. He slept. He asked for a drink. He allowed others to provide for his needs.
Is it a surprise if we see Jesus, YHWH of hosts, the Captian of the Lord’s armies, personally leading his heavenly army on the offensive into enemy territory in answer to a prayer? As God, he does not need help, but would it be wrong for him to restrain his own power and accept help? God is sovereign, he does not need us, but often he chooses to work in response to our prayers. God does not need our help in evangelism, but he says:
Romans 10:14 ...And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
2 Corinthians 5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
God does not need our help, but he chooses to allow us to participate in bringing about his purposes.
2022.10.09 Sermon Notes
Daniel 10:1-7; Mourning and a Vision of Glory
The context of the book:
7 Daniel’s Dream -4 beasts and the Son of Man [1st year Belshazzar]
8 Daniel’s 2nd Vision; Ram, Goat and little horn [3rd yr. Belshazzar]
9 Daniel’s Prayer; 70 7’s to end the desolations [1st yr. Darius]
10-12 Daniel’s 3rd and final vision [3rd yr. Cyrus]
The historical context:
605 BC Daniel and friends deported to Babylon (Dan.1)
586 BC Jerusalem temple destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar
539 BC Babylon fell to Cyrus/Darius (Dan.5)
538 BC 1st yr. Cyrus decrees rebuilding temple (Ezra 1)
537 BC 2nd yr. Cyrus; 42,360 Jews return to Jerusalem, (Ez.2)
October; feast of tabernacles celebrated
536 BC 3rd yr. Cyrus;
Nisan (or Abib; March/April) 3-24 Daniel fasts
Nisan 14 Passover (Exodus 12:2-3, 6, 18)
Nisan 14-21 Feast of Unleavened Bread
The discipline of fasting
Matthew 4:2; 6:16-18; 9:14-15
Luke 18:12; Acts 13:2-3; 14:23
Who is the one clothed in linen?
-A mighty angel?
Matthew 28:2-4; Revelation 15:6; 10:1-3
-The Son of God?
Matthew 17:2; Ezekiel 1:22-2:2; Revelation 1:12-18
-Omnipotence not fully exercised?
Genesis 32:24-30; Revelation 12:10, 1 John 2:10; Romans
8:34; Hebrews 7:25; Romans 10:14; 2 Corinthians 5:20
Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org