The Vision of the Glory of God
In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and concerned a great war. The understanding of the message came to him in a vision. At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.
This chapter is an introduction to Daniel’s fourth vision. At that time Daniel had entered a period of three weeks of fasting. Daniel’s vision occurred when Daniel was near the Tigris River. Other men were present but did not see the vision.
On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist. His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude. I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; the men with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. So I was left along, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground.
In his vision Daniel saw a glorious man whom Daniel described as clothed in linen, with a belt around his waist of the finest gold, his body was like chrysolite. His face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes as flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice sounded like the words of a multitude. The impression upon Daniel must have been tremendous and similar to that of John the Apostle when he saw the glorified Christ while on the island of Patmos. The sight of the vision affected Daniel physically, robbing him of his normal strength. Daniel’s experience illustrates the difficulty of mortal, sinful man, even a prophet like Daniel, of encountering the glory of God.
“A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling. Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.” While he was saying this to me, I bowed with my face toward the ground and was speechless. Then one who looked like a man touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing before me. “I am overcome with anguish because of the vision, my lord, and I am helpless. How can I , your servant, talk with you my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe.” Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. “Do not be afraid, O man, highly esteemed,” he said. “Peace” Be strong now; be strong.” When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak my lord, since you have given me strength.”So he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; but first I will tell you what is in the Book of Truth. (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince).”
It was in this position of weakness and semi-consciousness that Daniel was touched by an angel to strengthen him so that he could receive further revelation. The angel, who is to be distinguished from the previous glorious being, explained to Daniel that he had been sent by God at the beginning of Daniel’s intercession but had been delayed due to a spiritual struggle. The subject of the unseen struggle between the holy angels and the fallen angels is not clearly revealed in the Scriptures.
However, from the rare occasions that we are allowed a glimpse of what happens as in this instance, it is plain that behind the political and social condition of the world there is angelic influence – good on the part of the holy angels, evil on the part of the angels under satanic control.The angel then explained to Daniel that his purpose in coming was to make Daniel understand what was going to happen to his people. The angel explained at the same time that much time would be involved in the vision.
Having been strengthened two more times, Daniel was ready to receive the great revelation regarding the vision. We can read about the interpretation of his vision in chapter 11.