Study Notes

Daniel 10:1-12


Daniel's vision in chapter nine was given to him during the first year of Darius, 458BC. The events of chapter ten take place about two or three years later, during the King Cyrus' reign. (While the Septuagint and some commentators have tried to portray this as being the same year, the first verse of chapter eleven clearly show that a period of time has passed between the two.)

10:1 Belteshazzar

As you recall from chapter one, Daniel had been renamed after being captured by the Babylonians. He was known by them as Bale-tesh-ats-TSAR. Jesus, however, referred to him as Daniel (Matt. 24:15).

A Message Of Great Conflict

A message was revealed to Daniel - it was a message of "great conflict." That phrase was translated in the King James as saying,

Dan. 10:1 (KJV) ...but the time appointed was long...

I don't know where they came up with that one, but the Hebrew clearly means a "great war" or "large army." The vision Daniel was shown spoke of a massive end-times conflict, which we will see in the final two chapters of the book.

He Understood

Now remember, Daniel previously had some confusion regarding visions he'd been given. In chapter seven, when he was shown the vision of the four beasts, he didn't get it. He said,

Dan. 7:16 "I approached one of those who were standing by and began asking him the exact meaning of all this..."

Even after it was explained, he needed more information about the fourth beast (7:19). Later, in chapter eight, he was shown another vision - this one of a ram and a male goat. Again, he said,

Dan. 8:15 And it came about when I, Daniel, had seen the vision, that I sought to understand it...

Gabriel was then told to interpret the vision. Gabriel was sent again in chapter nine to give understanding to Daniel about the end times (9:22-23),

But notice that here in chapter ten, Daniel says that he "understood the message and had an understanding of the vision."

10:2-3 Three Weeks Of Mourning

Daniel was mourning for three weeks. Why was he mourning?

The Scriptures do not tell us clearly, but I'd like to take a shot at a Biblical guess. We know that he mourned for 21 days, until, as verse four tells us, the 24th day of the first month. (Remember, the months of our calendar do not correspond to the system that Daniel lived under. He is not saying that this occurred on January 24th. Actually, this date on our calendar was April 23, 536BC.) This means that he mourned from the 3rd day to the 24th day of the first month. What do we know about this time on the Jewish calendar?

- The 1st day of the first month was the anniversary of the tabernacle being erected for the first time in the wilderness (Exodus 40).

- The 14th was the beginning of the Passover (Lev. 23; Num. 9).

- The Jews crossed the Jordan River and entered the Promised Land on the 10th (Josh. 4).

- This month was also when Hezekiah reopened, repaired, and consecrated the temple, which had for years been abandoned because of the peoples' idolatry (2Chron. 29).

I believe that just as a widow mourns on her anniversary, and surviving parents struggle emotionally on their deceased child's birthday, Daniel was affected by the time of year it was, and spent this time in mourning.

No doubt he thought of God's faithfulness to his enslaved people in Egypt in proclaiming the Passover, of Moses assembling the tabernacle in the wilderness, of the Jews being miraculously brought into the Promised Land, of their rebellion against Him, and of Hezekiah's dedication to Him. Then, to look at where they were as a nation: 70 years in captivity to Babylon because of their sin, and the promise of the desolations of Jerusalem coming to an end any day now.

Question: Do you mourn when you consider the state of our nation? Do you see the the words of Jesus as applying to our country when He said,

Rev. 2:5 "Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first..."

I had an experience similar to this a few years ago. I had gone with my family to Frontier Park to watch the fireworks display on the Fourth of July. As the show progressed, there was a song sung which said,

"I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died who gave that right to me.
And I gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today
'Cause there ain't no doubt that I love this land.
God bless the USA."

Emotions ran high throughout the stands, and tears streamed down my face as well. But my tears were not flowing for the same reason that affected the other patriotic listeners. Mine came from the knowledge that although our nation was founded on Biblical morals and Godly principles, we have allowed that foundation to be chipped away and removed.

I believe that this is similar to what Daniel was experiencing - a citizen of a God-blessed nation which was suffering the consequences of turning away from God.

No Tasty Food

As Daniel mourned, he made a commitment to abstain from certain things. He didn't hold an absolute fast for these three weeks, but he did deny his flesh. There are four things he lists which he avoided:

1) He ate no "tasty food." The word translated "food" here is "LEKH-em," which literally means "bread." (This should sound familiar: "Bayth LEH-khem," the birthplace of Jesus, means "house of bread.") For three weeks, Daniel didn't eat any desirable bread. I'm not sure if that means that he avoided sweet breads (Krispy Kreme donuts), or just didn't eat any bread at all.

2) He didn't eat meat. For some, this would not be a problem. For whatever reason that people choose to be vegetarians, I can't join that parade. Although mankind was created in perfection, eating only green plants for food (Gen. 1:30), since the flood of Noah God has ordained the eating of meat. He said,

Gen. 9:3 "Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as {I gave} the green plant."

Now that's a command I can follow! Daniel apparently liked the barbecue as well, but denied himself the pleasure of meat during this time.

3) No wine. As a youth, Daniel had refused to drink the king's wine because it would defile him (Daniel 1:8). That was not, however, a complete abstinence from all wine for all his life. But for these three weeks, no wine touched his lips.

4) He didn't use any ointment. Ointment was a perfumed oil that would be poured on the head and body of a person after bathing. I think the equivalent today would be not brushing our hair or wearing makeup.

A "Daniel Fast"

Now, this has been called the "Daniel fast" - a fast which is not a complete abstinence of food, but simply certain select things which are enjoyable or desirable. I don't think that's really fair to Daniel's memory. Understand, I'm not saying that this isn't a valid way of humbling ourselves before the Lord. I'm simply making the point that Daniel was not a stranger to the true fast - he did it back in chapter nine. And we talked about fasting in our first study of that chapter. But I believe the application here is broader - more than just fasting. It is about the larger subject of self-denial in general.

Of course, self-denial is not a popular theme in the American church today. We've been raised on slogans like "Have it your way," "You deserve a break today," and "Obey your thirst." Like Veruca Salt of Willy Wonka fame, our last words are often, "I don't care how - I want it now!"

But Jesus taught us to deny self, to get our minds off of our own wants and our own agendas and see what God wants for us.

Jesus came to the point in His ministry where He began to tell the disciples that He was headed for Jerusalem to suffer and die. But Peter had his eye on grandeur and popularity. He was planning on being the right-hand man of the new king of Israel. This self-defeating attitude was clearly not in accordance with Peter's desires.

Matt. 16:22-25 And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "God forbid {it,} Lord! This shall never happen to You." But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's." Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it."

Saints, we have not been put on this earth to exalt ourselves, to obey our thirst, or even to eat tasty bread. We are here to please God, plain and simple. The closer Daniel drew to the Lord, the more he realized that truth.

10:4-7 The Place Of The Vision

On the day the vision was given to Daniel, he was by the bank of the Tigris River. Remember that when the Lord created the garden of Eden, there was a river flowing out of it, which divided into four (Gen. 2:10-14), one of which was the Tigris.

Its name is actually "Khid-DEH-kel" in Hebrew, which means "rapid." "Tigris" is from the Septuagint translation, and remains the river's name today, flowing in Iran, through Baghdad and emptying into the Persian Gulf.

The Man In The Vision

As Daniel stood by the bank of this river, he saw a man who was obviously angelic in appearance. We are given three descriptions of the angel: what he wore, how he looked, and the way he sounded when he spoke.

The angel was dressed in linen, and his waist was girded with a gold belt, which Daniel says was "of pure gold of Oo-FAWZ." Oo-FAWZ was an ancient place known for its gold. By Daniel's day, the term probably mean gold of incredible purity and brilliance.

Daniel then describes the angel's physical appearance. It is written that his body was like beryl. Beryl is a stone much like an emerald, light green in color. His face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, and his arms and feet gleamed like polished bronze.

Thirdly, we are told somewhat of how he sounded. The sound of his words like were like the sound of a tumult. A tumult is like the roar of a crowd or a huge crash. I can only imagine what this angel's voice must have sounded like!

They Ran Away

The other guys that were there with Daniel, however, did not see the vision of this angel. But they knew that something strange was happening, because they freaked out and ran away.

A similar thing happened when Saul of Tarsus was confronted by the Lord on the road to Damascus. As this man was on a mission to arrest Christians, a light from heaven flashed around him. A voice said to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" Saul heard it and responded, "Who art Thou, Lord?"

Meanwhile, the guys that were with Saul saw the flash of light and heard something, but did not understand what the voice said (Acts 9:7; 22:9).

It is always interesting to me that two people can be in the same place at the same time, and yet only one experiences supernatural blessing. It happens every Sunday morning in worship, right here in this sanctuary. God will pour out amazing blessing on one, and the other will simply be listening to music, having no sense of the miracle that is happening right next to them, or worse yet, knowing that something is happening, but not experiencing it.

I pray that we will be those that stay to listen, rather than running away. That we will be those who ask, "Who art Thou, Lord?" instead of saying, "I don't get it."

10:8-11 Daniel's Reaction To The Vision

Daniel was overwhelmed by the sight and sound of this vision. He reacted physically, the strength leaving his body, the blood rushing out of his head. Even when the angel lifted him up, he was trembling. Keep in mind, this was not the shaking and quaking that people claim to be experiencing from the Spirit during a Pentecostal revival meeting. No, Daniel was trembling with fear.

10:12 Set On Understanding

The angel informed Daniel that he had been dispatched to bring this vision three weeks earlier. As Daniel had been mourning and humbling himself before God, the angel was on his way.

Daniel had set his heart on understanding. This is always a delight to our Lord. You see, although some people are content to live in ignorance of the things of God, we are not to be. The Lord loves us and wants us to discover more about Him. His desire is that we would be like a young couple in love that stay up nights talking, just to learn more about each other. He is happy to reveal the mysteries of the ages to us.

This week, I received several phone calls from believers that want to learn more about God's plan. A man wanting to know about the Millennial Reign of Christ. A couple who wants to learn what the Bible says about the rapture of the church. A woman seeking to know God's heart about a certain trend in the body of Christ. God loves to be discovered!

He has given us Himself - the perfect teacher dwelling inside of our hearts. Jesus said,

John 14:26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

All things are available to us, that we might learn them! But remember, we must be walking in the Spirit if we are to gain this understanding. Paul told the Corinthians,

1Cor. 2:14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

Let us make sure that we are walking in the Spirit, seeking understanding, and drawing near to the Lord our God.

Go to next study

Go to previous study