Daniel 10-12

(A Complex Vision)
September 13th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

In the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel, who had been named Belteshazzar. The revelation was certain: a great war; he understood this from the vision.

- Daniel 10:1 (NAB)

Summary of Chapters

The last three chapters in this book record a complex vision and prophecy regarding the future of the nations of the world. In chapter 10, Daniel reports that he was in a period of intense fasting when he had another vision. He saw a brightly lit man whose voice was " 'like the sound of the multitude' (Dan 10:6 - NIV)."

The man explained that the Persian Empire, which had taken over Babylon, would soon be supplanted by the Greeks. Chapter 11 gives more details about what will happen, describing how the Greek empire will sub-divide into four warring kingdoms that battle each other endlessly.

Chapter 12 is titled "The End Times." The man describes the arrival of a prince named Michael who would protect and deliver the people. The dead will rise up and the " 'they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament;' (Dan 12:3 - KJV)." Additional men appeared in the vision and asked how long it will be before these events occur.

    “The man dressed in linen, who straddled the river, raised both hands to the skies. I heard him solemnly swear by the Eternal One that it would be a time, two times, and half a time, that when the oppressor of the holy people was brought down the story would be complete.

    “I heard all this plainly enough, but I didn’t understand it. So I asked, ‘Master, can you explain this to me?’

    “‘Go on about your business, Daniel,’ he said. ‘The message is confidential and under lock and key until the end, until things are about to be wrapped up. The populace will be washed clean and made like new. But the wicked will just keep on being wicked, without a clue about what is happening. Those who live wisely and well will understand what’s going on.’

    - Daniel 12:7-10 (MSG)

Daniel was told that he would receive his reward for his service and faith.

Reflection and Application

This vision is closely related to the ones in chapters 8 and 9 and is generally considered as an apocalyptic vision. We found similar themes in Isaiah 24-27, Isaiah 56-66, and Ezekiel 38-29, and will encounter this topic again in Zechariah 9-14, Mark 13, and the book of Revelation (1). We might be tempted to throw up our hands in exasperation trying to fully absorb the meaning of these types of visions, and may wish to repeat Daniel's earlier statement, "I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding (Dan 8:27-NIV)."

It might require more than one day to interpret this last group, but here are a couple of key points: First, God wins in the end. The wise understand this truth and remain loyal to God, even when it looks like he is losing. God's team is the one that always ends up victorious, even if they are three touchdowns behind with less than a minute remaining or down 40-Love in the final game and set of the match. Somehow, he makes time stand still and renders the enemy powerless.

The second key point is found in the instruction to Daniel. He might not have understood when these events would occur, but was told to just keep doing what he is doing, faithfully serving the Lord, and he would receive his reward. In fact, chapter 12 is the first one in the Bible to explicitly describe the rising of the dead for everlasting life with God (2).

We have received our reward in the form of God's Grace and this promise of afterlife. Our calling is to keep serving God, even if we don’t understand when it all ends or how it will end. This attitude can be considered wisdom. The wise don’t try to understand it all because they know it's impossible for humans on earth to achieve this goal - but their wisdom begins with fear and respect for the Lord.

Notice Daniel's description of his fear and respect when he saw the man dressed in linen: "“I heard his voice. At the sound of it I fainted, fell flat on the ground, face in the dirt. A hand touched me and pulled me to my hands and knees (Dan 10:9-10 - MSG)." This may have been an angel of the LORD or the LORD himself that pulled up Daniel, but in either case, the response from Daniel is a proper demonstration of respectful fear of the LORD. He knelt down to pray when he was in great distress and he fell on his knees in awe when encountering a heavenly being. Let us all fall down before the LORD today in awe and fear in order to praise him and seek his word.

It’s worth noting that fear of the LORD does not preclude having a conversation with him. Prayer should be a dialog with God, not a monologue to him. In an address to a men’s retreat, the Rev. Chuck Davis once said:

    God wants to be in dialog with us but we have closed him out. He wants to reveal things in the same way that he revealed things to Daniel.

Amen. Davis added that God speaks to us in a number of ways. First is his word in the Bible, but Davis emphasized that there is no reason to believe that God stopped talking to us after the Bible was written. Furthermore, Davis added, there is no reason to believe that God would not continue to use the same method, including visions and dreams. Your daily study of the Bible will help to attune you to God’s voice, but you need to find some quiet time and places where you can hear him respond and provide further instruction for you.

For today’s musical contribution, we recommend the Maranatha Singers recording available in the YouTube video below:

"We Choose the Fear of the Lord," Maranatha Singers

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. Daniel is one of the names in the Bible that remains popular (unlike Belshazzar). Who do you know that is named Daniel? How would you describe him?
    2. What instructions from God require faith for you to follow because he has not yet revealed the outcome?
    3. How would you summarize the book of Daniel to a friend?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven we fall down before you in awe. Help us to stand up for you.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    People with critical illnesses who are facing death - that they may believe in a reunion with our LORD


    (1) Boadt, Lawrence, Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction, Paulist Press, Mahwah, NJ; 1984, p. 511
    (2) IBID p.513

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Hosea 1-3 (Obedience of Hosea)

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