It was the first month during the third year of King Cyrus’ reign, when Daniel was given one final revelation concerning a great war. Remember that this was two years after Cyrus had allowed the Israelites to return to their homeland and also after the exiles faced opposition to their temple building efforts. So it was perhaps a peaceful period in Daniel’s life when suddenly he was given this violent revelation.
Daniel’s Vision of a Man
Taken aback by this frightening revelation, Daniel mourned for twenty one days and on the twenty fourth day of the month he saw a man dressed in linen, with his attire comprising of precious metals and with a voice sounding like that of a multitude, standing before him on top of the waters of the river Tigris. Only Daniel was able to see this man as his companions ran and hid themselves because of the terror that had overwhelmed them.
Not everyone had the same relationship with God and they would not be able to comprehend what was being revealed about the future. John the Baptist had a close relation with God and only he heard the voice from Heaven calling Jesus the Son of God, while it was kept from others. John realised his purpose on that day but his relationship with God started long before that day. Similarly, Daniel now in his nineties, had a close personal relationship with God and thus was the only one present there who could see the vision of the man.
So I was left alone, 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.Daniel 10:8-9
The man lifted Daniel up and told him that he had come to interpret the revelation that was given three weeks earlier to Daniel. He explained the reason for his delay, that he had been held up with the rulers of Persia till the time Michael helped him.
Michael is an archangel and over here he is described as the head of princes. The princes mentioned over here are thus angels and daemons rather than earthly princes. The struggle being described by the man is not an earthly conflict but one within spiritual realm like the one described by Jude wherein satan and Michael struggled for Moses’s mortal remains.
But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”Jude 1:9
Till this day no one knows where Moses is buried. This gives us insights into the war that goes on in the spiritual realm and that sometimes coincides with the wars that kings of the earth start.
The Kings of the Great War
The man explained the meaning of the revelation to Daniel in great detail listing down the kings and queens who will temporarily rule over the land. Four more kings were to come from Persia with the last of them bing the richest and notorious as he would stir up trouble with their Greek neighbours.
Then a mighty king will arise, who will rule with great power and do as he pleases.Daniel 11:3
Most probably alluding to the great Alexander of Greece, but he died young leaving no heirs and his kingdom was divided among his generals just as it was prophesied.
The Ptolemies are probably the kings of the South while the Seleucids are the kings of the North. There are six Ptolemies and seven Seleucids rulers that are mentioned here with the prophecy about their battles, marriages and conquest all coming true, down to the very last detail. Antiochus III ruled in Israel from 223 to 187 BC and defiled the temple and stopped the rituals of the Jews.
The last king probably refers to the beast from John’s revelations as they both had similar demises. Michael will arise to protect God’s people leading up to the events of the second coming of Christ.
Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.Daniel 12:2-3
Upon enquiring the outcome of these events, Daniel was told to roll up the scrolls till the end times as he himself would not be alive to witness these events but like the other ‘wise’, who have obeyed God’s voice, he will be raised and given his allotted inheritance.
Like Daniel, we also do not need to know the times of these events described in this book. What we must understand is that there is a spiritual warfare going on behind the scenes of our problems but realise that God has allowed for it and only He can put a stop to it at the appointed time. Till then we need to stay on the path that God has chosen for us, fully submitting to His will, and when the Day of the Lord arrives, we too will receive our allotted inheritance.
- Why was Daniel mourning?
- Why could no one else see the vision?
- Who was the man dressed in linen?
- How can a prince or a king detain heavenly beings?
- What was the purpose of the delay?
- Why tell Daniel the future happenings when the man doesn’t want to tell him the outcome?
- What is the Beautiful Land?
- Why is the fight of the North and the South of importance?