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Bible Commentaries

Hamilton Smith's Writings

Daniel 10

Verses 1-21

PREPARATION FOR DIVINE COMMUNICATIONS

Daniel 10

The last three chapters form one complete section of the Book of Daniel, presenting a forecast of historical facts relating to the dealings of the Gentile powers with God's earthly people from the time of the Persian monarchy until their final deliverance under the reign of Christ.

Dan_10to11:1 is introductory, giving the circumstances under which Daniel received these final communications.

Daniel 11 : presents a prophetic outline of events which take place in connection with the kings of the countries north and south of the holy land.

Daniel 12 : foretells God's dealings with the faithful remnant of the Jews when the nation passes through the great tribulation of the three and a half years that precede the Kingdom of Christ.

Daniel 10 tells us the time when Daniel received these communications, the state of his soul, and the circumstances under which they were made.

(V. 1). These things were revealed to Daniel in the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia. From Ezr_1:1 we know that in the first year of this king a decree was made setting the Jews free to return to their land. Evidently, Daniel had not taken advantage of this decree, for, in the second year of Cyrus, he is still found by the river Hiddekel in the land of Assyria. Here the solemn truth is revealed to Daniel that, not withstanding the partial return from captivity, there still awaits his people "the appointed time of trial" (N. Tn.), and that this sad time will be long.

(Vv. 2, 3). Though Daniel remained in the land of captivity, he was by no means indifferent to the condition of God's people. This is clearly seen by the state of his soul. For full three weeks he mourned and fasted from flesh and wine. Nature might have seen in the partial return a revival amongst God's people, and a fresh start in their spiritual history that called for exultation, feasting and rejoicing. The man of God, however, feels the sorrowful past of God's people, their present weakness, even if free to return to the land, and, above all, foresees the further sorrows that await them before they reach their final deliverance. Amongst those who returned, we know indeed that the younger generation "shouted with a great shout," but the ancient men "wept with a loud voice" ( Ezr_3:12 ). In like spirit the aged Daniel mourns in the land of captivity.

Well for God's people if every gracious revival among them were made the occasion for confession and mourning remembering that there will be no full and final deliverance until Christ comes. In every true revival the people of God, if led by the Spirit, will be marked by prayer and confession, rather than by shouting and exultation. The more noise and display the less there is of God in any movement among His people.

Moreover, this right condition of soul prepares Daniel for the communications he is about to receive. One has truly said, "What greater mistake can be made than to suppose that we can enter into God's secrets without a moral preparedness of heart, or to think that it is possible to understand divine things merely through hearing or reading, or because we have ranged ourselves round certain leaders of God's people, and enthusiastically upheld their teachings? Humiliation and fasting were Daniel's means of receiving these revelations; and so now, it is only when we are morally outside of things here - outside of the gratification of the senses and joys of earth, having thoroughly chastened ourselves, through the application of the cross, in the presence of God - that the Spirit of God enlightens the eyes of our hearts to comprehend God's mind and will."

(Vv. 4-6). Daniel, being in a right condition of soul to receive communications from God, has a wonderful vision of a glorious angelic being, by whom God will communicate His mind. He sees the angel, not as having assumed some simple garb in order to appear to man, but in his own angelic glory, setting forth his majesty, holiness and power as a divine messenger.

(Vv. 7-11). We are then told the effect of the vision upon Daniel and his companions. The men that were with Daniel saw not the vision, but they felt the presence of this celestial being and, filled with terror, fled to hide themselves. Daniel left alone in the presence of the angel, is overcome with fear, and falls upon the ground, finding relief in deep sleep. In this position the hand of the angel touches him and he is set upon his knees and the palms of his hands. The angel then speaks, assuring Daniel that he is greatly beloved, and he is made to stand upright though trembling. He is thus set at liberty in the presence of this heavenly being to hear communications from God.

(V. 12). Before unfolding to Daniel the special truths he had been sent to communicate, the angel lifts the veil that hides the unseen from the seen and, in a unique passage, gives us a glimpse of the activities of spiritual beings, whether good of evil, that lie behind so much that takes place m man's world. One has said, "If there are conflicts upon earth, they flow from higher conflicts - the angels contending with these evil beings, the instruments of Satan, who constantly seek to thwart the counsels of God with regard to the earth."

We know that in a special way the angels are the guardians of the Lord's people, "sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation" ( Heb_1:14 ). Here we further learn that they are the executors of God's will behind all His providential dealings amongst men; and in carrying out their commission, they are opposed by wicked spiritual beings.

We have, moreover, in this scene the comforting assurance that God is not indifferent to the exercises and prayers of His people. From the first moment that Daniel set his heart to understand the mind of God, and to chasten himself before God, his prayer was heard. We may fret against others, and declaim against their evil, but if our prayers are to be effectual we need like Daniel to chasten ourselves in the presence of God.

In answer to these exercises the angel had been sent to assure Daniel that he is greatly beloved, to comfort him in his sorrow, and to instruct him in the mind of God.

(V. 13). Though Daniel's prayer had been heard on the first day that he had poured out his soul before God, the answer to his prayer had been delayed three weeks. The angel intimates the reason for this delay. There were spiritual antagonistic forces at work. For three weeks the prince of the kingdom of Persia had withstood the angel sent to answer Daniel's prayer. The prince of the kingdom of Persia is evidently a spiritual being. In this verse, Michael, the Archangel, is referred to as "one of the chief princes," and in the last chapter as "the great prince."

Scripture clearly intimates that in the spiritual realm there are good principalities and powers as well as those that are evil ( Eph_1:21 ; Eph_6:12 , etc.): and that even as God has deputed certain angelic beings, under the direction of an angelic prince, to guard His people, so Satan has evil spiritual powers, under an arch-enemy, deputed to carry out his opposition to God among the nations of the world.

In this particular conflict between spiritual powers, Michael, one of the chief angelic princes, had come to help the angel sent to Daniel. This conflict with Satan's emissary deputed to oppose God's work in the kingdom of Persia had detained the angel with the kings of Persia.

(V. 14). This conflict of spiritual powers being ended, the angel comes to Daniel and informs him that he is sent to make Daniel understand what shall befall his people - the Jews - in the latter days, and emphasises the fact that the vision is yet for many days.

In the course of these communications we shall find that many events are foretold that have already had their fulfilment, but their importance lies in their connection with the future, and the way in which they lead up to the manifestation of the Antichrist and the great tribulation of the last days.

(Vv. 15-19). Overcome by the greatness of these communications made by such a glorious being, Daniel feels his own unworthiness and impotence. He bows his face in humbleness and is dumb. He is, however, sustained by an angelic being in the similitude of a man who touches his lips. He is thus emboldened to speak and own that the vision had filled him with sorrow, left him utterly weak, with a sense of his own unworthiness to converse with this heavenly messenger.

Again the angel touches him, imparting to him strength, assuring him that personally he is greatly beloved, that he has no need to fear, filling him with the peace of God, and exhorting him to be strong. Daniel, having thus poured out his soul before God, has the peace of God poured into his heart (See Php_4:6-7 ). The result is that Daniel is strengthened and can say to the angel. "Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me."

(Vv. 20-11: 1). From this point Daniel becomes a listener. The angel informs him that he is about to return to fight with the Satanic angelic princes of Persia and Greece. Before taking up this fresh conflict with spiritual evil, he will reveal to Daniel that which is set down in the Scripture of truth. The revelations of chapters 11 and 12 have been noted in Scripture for our benefit.

Daniel is assured that Michael, one of the chief princes, is the spiritual prince deputed to guard the interests of God's earthly people. The angel sent to Daniel had already been used to confirm and strengthen Darius the Mede. This statement may throw great light on the fact that Darius was so favourable to Daniel (See Dan_6:14-28 ). In Daniel 6 we have the outward history: in Daniel 10 and Dan_11:1 we see the spiritual conflict behind the history. We now learn that the hostility of the enemies of Daniel was the outcome of spiritual wickedness working behind the scenes, even as the favour shown to Daniel by Darius was the result of the king being confirmed and strengthened by God's angelic messenger, however little either the enemies of Daniel or his friends were aware of the activities of these spiritual beings.

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Bibliographical Information
Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Daniel 10". "Hamilton Smith's Writings". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hsw/daniel-10.html. 1832.