This chapter and the next two (which conclude this Book) are part of one entire vision and prophecy, which was communicated to Daniel for the use of the people of God – not by signs and figures, as in chapters 7 and 8; but by express words. In this chapter, we have some things that serve to introduce the prophecy; in chapter 11, we have the particular predictions; and then chapter 12 brings the vision to a conclusion.
A general idea of this prophecy is given in verse 1: “the thing was true,” for every Word of God is so. It was indeed true that Daniel had such a vision, and that such and such things were said. “But the time appointed was long,” for its full fulfillment was hundreds of years distant – a long time indeed when it is looked upon as being yet in the future. And “the time appointed” was also “long” in the sense that this prophecy spiritually looks as far forward as the end of the world and the resurrection of the dead. Nevertheless, this prophecy was made as plain to Daniel as if it had been a history rather than a prophecy; he understood the thing, for it was very distinctly delivered to him, and received by him.
The chapter begins by showing us Daniel’s solemn fasting and humiliation, before he had this vision. He had been in a state of mourning for three full weeks – both for his own sins and also for the sins and sorrows of his people. Then we have a description of that glorious Person whom Daniel saw in vision, Who could be none other than Christ Himself – the eternal Word! The prophet was by the side of the Hiddekel River – probably walking there, not for diversion, but for devotion and contemplation, just as Isaac walked in the field to meditate in the evening. Suddenly he looked up, and saw a Man – but not any ordinary man, for it was the Man Christ Jesus! It must be He, for here He appears in the same splendid glory as that in which He appeared to the Apostle John on the island of Patmos (Rev. 1:13-15).
This vision not only dazzled Daniel’s eyes, but it also overwhelmed his spirit, so that no strength remained in him. Even the greatest and best of men cannot bear the full discovery of the Divine glory, for no man can see it and live. But although Daniel was thus dispirited with this vision of Christ, yet he heard the voice of His words and knew what He said. It seems that when the vision of Christ terrified Daniel, the voice of His words soon pacified and composed him; they silenced his fears, and laid him to sleep in a holy serenity of mind.
In verse 10, we still find the prophet in his state of fright, very slowly recovering himself; but he is still answered and supported with good and comfortable words. Even though he recovered enough strength in his limbs so that he could stand up steadily, yet he tells us that he set his face toward the ground and became voiceless. He was struck silent with admiration and fear, and was hesitant to enter into discourse with One Who was so clearly far above him. At length, however, he recovered not only the use of his feet; but a Man touched his lips, and then he also regained the use of his tongue. “O my Lord,” he cried in great humility, “by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me!” The sense of his sinful and sorrowful state left him weak and powerless when he saw Christ’s purity and brightness. However, Christ Himself gave Daniel all the encouragement and comfort that he needed! He assured him of the great favor that God had for him: “Thou art a man greatly beloved!” Nothing is more likely or more effectual to revive the drooping spirits of the saints, than to be assured of God’s love for them. Those are greatly beloved indeed whom God loves, and it is comfort indeed to know this. The Savior silenced the prophet’s fears, and encouraged his hopes with good and comfortable words.
Having seen how the Lord Jesus streng-thened and encouraged His servant Daniel, let us now look more closely at the words that He spoke to him in this vision. He assured the prophet that his fastings and prayers had come up for a memorial before God, just as the angel told Cornelius (Acts 10:4). Christ informed the prophet that He had come to him on purpose, to bring him a prediction of the future state of the Church; for it would be a particular satisfaction to him to know what her future situation would be, so that he would better know what to pray for her as long as he lived. The principal things that this vision was intended to give Daniel foresight of would come to pass in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes – over 300 years after this. Christ proceeded to give Daniel a general account of the adversaries of the people of God, from whom it might be expected that troubles would arise; and also of their supporters, under whose protection the Church might be assured of safety and victory at last.
The Lord Jesus told Daniel that he would have received a gracious answer to his prayers sooner, but the prince of the kingdom of Persia had been resisting Him for 21 days – the three weeks that the prophet had been fasting and praying. The kings and kingdoms of the world have sometimes been helpful indeed to the Church of Christ; but more often, they have been injurious to it. Such is the state of the Church-militant; when she has gotten clear of one enemy, she has another to encounter. If the Lord Jesus were not on her side, her case would be bad indeed! Nevertheless, the God of heaven is and will be her Protector; and under Him, the angels and archangels of heaven are her guardians.
Lord, we acknowledge that we, who are mere dust and ashes, are utterly unworthy to speak with You, the Lord of glory; but we thank You for imparting Your grace and strength into us, so that we may enjoy fellowship with You! Amen.
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