- Dan. 10:1-12:13
In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, Daniel receives what would be his last recorded vision. The vision begins as Daniel was standing by the Tigris River. He looked up and saw a man dressed in linen, with a gold belt around his waist, a face like lightning, eyes like flaming torches, and arms and legs of bronze. His voice sounded like many waters.
The man told Daniel that he had been fighting against the prince of Persia, which had delayed his coming to Daniel by three weeks. (We are told early in the reading that Daniel had been mourning for three weeks, which seems to indicate that’s when this man was sent to Daniel with the knowledge he was about to reveal.) The man then said he would soon return to fight the prince of Persia and that the prince of Greece would come. The man told Daniel he had been supporting and protecting Darius, the Mede, so it is unclear whether the “prince of Persia” was for or against Darius.
He continued by saying that three more kings would reign in Persia, and the fourth would be far richer than the others. He would gain great power and stir up the people against the king of Greece. Then a mighty king would appear and rule with great power, doing as he pleased. This king would be Alexander the Great. Afterward, his empire would be broken into pieces “toward the four winds of heaven.” After Alexander’s death, the Greek Empire would be broken into four parts upon his death, as the man said, “uprooted and given to others.“
The king of the South and the king of the North would engage in several battles. Much description is given regarding these battles but, as with the rest of this vision, it is not revealed who is being discussed. The king of the South might be referring to Egypt or Syria. I believe that the North is likely referring to the Seleucid kingdom. At one point, the king of the South would “desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice” and “set up the abomination that causes desolation.” I understand this to be a reference to Antiochus Epiphanes who invaded Jerusalem in 167 B.C. (See 2 Maccabees 5-6 for details.)
A king will exalt and magnify himself above every god and say unheard-of things against GOD. He will show no regard for the idols of his fathers nor any other idol, but will honor “a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his fathers.” This king of the North and the king of the South will again engage in battles, and many countries will fall into the hands of the king of the North, including Egypt. Eventually, his time will come to an end with no one to help him.
The vision concludes as follows:
1 “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. 2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 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. 4 But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.”
5 Then I, Daniel, looked, and there before me stood two others, one on this bank of the river and one on the opposite bank. 6 One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?” 7 The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.”
8 I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?” 9 He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are rolled up and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand. 11 “From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. 12 Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days. 13 “As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.”
(Dan. 12:1-13 NIV)
Michael the great prince who guards GOD’s people may well be the archangel. The language in this vision is very similar to that of Revelation. I believe that this vision concerns the end of the old covenant with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. There would be a period of great distress, but GOD assures the reader that He would deliver His children at that time. It is important to note that Daniel was told to seal up the words of the vision because it concerned a time in the distant future. (Recall that Daniel received this vision around 536 B.C.)