Daniel Chapter 10 is an introduction to Daniel’s fourth and final vision.  Daniel’s fourth vision is spans chapters 10 to 12.  This section of Daniel takes place in the final stage of Daniel’s life, when Daniel is well into his 80’s.   

            The structure of this fourth vision, built on the earlier parts of Daniel, is a prophetic map of future events surroundingJerusalem, Israel and the Jews. There are four parts to this fourth vision, Chapter 10 through the first verse of Chapter 11 is an introduction, the second part, 11:2-35 deals with the immediate future, the third part 11:36-12:4 deals with the far future and the fourth and final part, concluding remarks are in 12:5-13. 

Chapter 10 also removes the veil off the angelic and demonic struggle for nations.  Here we see the power of prayer in conjunction with God’s plan and purpose. The “Prince of Persia” is demonic force preventing a message from arriving to Daniel, who has been praying for 21 days. The message, which follows is Daniel11:2 to 12:4.

Introduction to Chapter 10

Background to Daniel’s fourth vision

DA 10:1  In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar. The message was true, but the appointed time was long; and he understood the message, and had understanding of the vision.

Third year of Cyrus: The timing of this fourth revelation takes place in 536 B.C., the third year of Cyrus.  Cyrus defeated Babylon in 539 B.C., with the fall of the city (Daniel 5).  This is seventy years after Daniel’s Babylonian captivity, taken captive in 605 B.C., Daniel is now about 84 to 85 years old.

Appointed time:  The time surrounding this message is long, having in view the whole scope of this age until, “the end of days”(Daniel12:13), at that time Daniel will be resurrected.  The Hebrew words translated “Appointed” “time” are abcTsaba'  meaning that which goes forth, army or host, andlwdgGadowl, meaning great or large. This has been translated literally as “Great task” or “Great warfare”. 

The vision to follow concerns a great struggle or long struggle concerning his people and city.  Daniel’s people are in focus in these events, because God’s words and covenants are irrevocable, through Israel, God will accomplish his purpose.


Daniel prepares for the vision

DA 10:2  In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks.

DA 10:3  I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.

Those days: Prior to receiving this message Daniel was in prayer and mourning, more then likely Daniel was mourning about the situation taking place in Jerusalem and the state of his people.  Cyrus had allowed the Jews to return and Temple construction to begin but by the second year only the foundation was laid, the problem is the people who were living in the land opposed the returning Jews from rebuilding.  Word of these events filtered back to Daniel.

 Then the people of the land tried to discourage the people of Judah. They troubled them in building,

and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.

Ezra 4:4-5

Three full weeks:  Prior to this fourth vision, Daniel had been praying and mourning for 21 days, literally, “three weeks of days”.  The Hebrew specifies the weeks being “Days” here as compared to Daniel 9:24, (Seventy Weeks).  The word ~wy Yowm means day and is translated “full” vs. 2 and “whole” in vs. 3.  The meaning is “Three Weeks of Days” or 21 days.

During this 21-day period, Daniel fasted from any celebratory foods and maintained a meager diet. Similar to chapter 9, Daniel was in state of prayer and mourning, prior to his vision.

3 Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.

Daniel 9:3

Daniel’s prayer also corresponded with the time of Passover, which began on the 14th day of the first month, and lasted until the 21st day of the month, the month Nisan (Exodus 12). This vision takes place in the first month (Vs. 4).

Week…fulfilled:  Daniel had set aside this 21-day period, to mourn and pray. This period included Passover week, but Daniel’s period preceded Passover by two weeks.  Daniel went beyond what God required, because Daniel was someone who sought to understand and know God.

Daniel’s vision of God

DA 10:4  Now on the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, that is, the Tigris,

DA 10:5  I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz!

DA 10:6  His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude.

Twenty-fourth: Following Daniel’s 21-day period of prayer and mourning, either a few days after or the next day is not clear.  The vision begins on the 24th day, the third day after Passover week.  

First month: The first month of the Jewish year is Abib, the same as Nisan according to Exodus 12.  On the 14th day of the first month, Passover week began and ended on the 21st day of the month. This event occurred in the first month of the Jewish year, corresponding with March/April of our calendar.

TigrisThe Tigris is also known as Hiddekkel,  the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers are separated by 35 miles, thirty five miles north of Babylon. The Tigris starts in the Taurus Mountains in Eastern Turkey and flows 1150 miles to the south. The Tigris and the Euphrates river join and become one river north ofBasra. The name Mesopotamia means land of “Two rivers”, the Euphrates and the Tigris.

Daniel was an official of Persian, government and did not return with the captives in Ezra 1.  Daniel stayed behind in Persia rather then returning. Daniel in position of power and influence with the new Persian government and could be of more use to his people in Persia, then in Jerusalem.

My eyes: Daniel is not having a dream, but seeing a vision.  Daniel is by the Tigris River, accompanied by some men. Who are they? We don’t know, they could be Daniel’s prayer partners or government officials accompanying Daniel.   

A certain man:  The identity of this person who has appeared to Daniel has been the subject of much debate.  The debate is whether the individual described here is an angel or a theophany (Appearance of God). 

Those who argue this is an angel point to verse 13, and make the case that God would not need the help of angels to overcome the demonic force known as the Prince of Persia (10:20).

Those who argue this is theophany or christophay (Appearance of pre-incarnate Christ) point to the description in Revelation 1:13-15 of the glorified Christ.  The problem with this view is verse 13, when the angel in there describes his inability to overcome the demonic force over Persia without the aid of the angel Michael.

Defending the person as a theophany or christophany, Walvwoord distinguishes between the person in Daniel 10:5-6 from the angel in Daniel 10:10-14 which talks to Daniel.


Although there is room for debate even among conservative scholars, the evidence seems more in favor of considering this a theophany. In this case, the man of 10:5-6 is be distinguished from the angel of 10:10-14 as well as Michael mentioned in 10:13.  Although mighty angels are frequently difficult to distinguish from God Himself, as in other visions such as those described in Ezekiel  and Revelation, the similarity between the man described in 10:5-6 and the glorified Christ in Revelation 1:13-15 has led conservative expositors such as Young and Keil to consider the man a genuine theophay or an appearance of Christ as the Angel of Jehovah.[1]




Daniel 10:5-6

Revelation 1:13-15


a certain man

like the Son of Man


clothed in linen

clothed with a garment


whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz

girded about the chest with a golden band


face like the appearance of lightning

His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow


his eyes like torches of fire

His eyes like a flame of fire;

Arms and feet

his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color

His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace


the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude

His voice as the sound of many waters


Clothed in linen: Probably like a white linen which characterized the garments of the priests (Exodus 28:39-43) Linen is also seen by other heavenly visitors, (Ezekiel 9:2-3,11; 10:2,6-7). The angels at the tomb of Christ are described as having long shining garments Lk. 24:4, Jn 20:12, Acts 1:10.

Girded with gold: The linen was surrounded by a golden belt similar to what the High-priest was required to wear in Temple service.

"They shall take the gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine linen,

6 "and they shall make the ephod of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, artistically worked.

7 "It shall have two shoulder straps joined at its two edges, and so it shall be joined together.

Exodus 28:5-7

The purpose of the sash or girdle was to hold the breast plate with 12 stones representing the 12 tribes of Israel.  The High Priest would go before God, bearing the tribes of Israel on his chest.


Face…lightening:  The description of the face and eyes is similar to the description found in Ezekiel 1:

26 And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it.

27 Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around.

28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking.

Ezekiel 1:26-28

The vision’s effect on Daniel


DA 10:7  And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision; but a great terror fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.

DA 10:8  Therefore I was left alone when I saw this great vision, and no strength remained in me; for my vigor was turned to frailty in me, and I retained no strength.

DA 10:9  Yet I heard the sound of his words; and while I heard the sound of his words I was in a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground.

The vision: Daniel alone saw the vision, the other men were in a state of terror and fled the scene.  This vision was not a dream, but an actual event witnessed only by Daniel.  The scene is similar to Paul’s on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:7). They heard the voice but saw no one in Acts.  Here in Daniel, the men overcome by fear and fled the scene. The terror of God’s presence came over them even if they did not see anything. Daniel was left alone to see the vision.

I retained no strength: The appearance of this “Certain man” drained all of Daniel’s strength he fell prostrate on the floor.

My vigor:  Daniel as Isaiah was saw his own corruption and sin in the presence of this individual. He, became aware of his sinful human nature. The Hebrew word translated here ‘Vigor” is dwhHowd meaning splendor, majesty, vigor.  Daniel’s physical and spiritual strength were lost.  He was totally dependent upon God for his strength.  Isaiah when he saw God declared saw his own sin and human frailty.

5 So I said: "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts."

Isaiah 6:5

I heard: Daniel could only hear the words of the “Certain man”, but they were as if Daniel was dreaming and he was in a deep sleep. 

Daniel’s strength restored

DA 10:10  Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands.

DA 10:11  And he said to me, "O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you." While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling.

Suddenly: Here there is break in the events, a transition between the “Certain man” seen in verse 5 and 6, and the angel who is giving Daniel strength to stand in his presence so Daniel can understand the message. First, Daniel raises to his knees and palms Daniel was given strength stand trembling.

He said: In chapter 9, Gabriel refers to Daniel as “Man greatly beloved”, here in verse 10 and in verse 19 Daniel is referred to as “greatly beloved”. From what we see in Chapters 9 and 10, Daniel cultivated a relationship with God over the years. Daniel was a consistent man, one who prayed and sought God on the behalf of others.  Daniel pursued righteousness even when their were easier routes.  Instead, of fasting for 7 days on Passover, Daniel fasted 21 days.  Daniel mourned for his people and their plight.  Daniel is an example for all of us who want to be part of God’s battle.

Daniel could be used by God because he made himself available.   Here the angel who strengthened Daniel out of his sleep is about to deliver a message to Daniel.  This does not appear to be the same as the “Certain man” in Daniel 10:5-6.


The purpose of the angel’s visit

DA 10:12  Then he said to me, "Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.

DA 10:13  "But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.

DA 10:14  "Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come."

He said: The angel explains the reason Daniel is “Greatly beloved”.

Do not fear:  Daniel was beloved in heaven because he was sincere with God. 

From the first day:  The angelic messenger gives the reader, an understanding of the unique quality that made Daniel a man “beloved” in heaven.  We find from the first day Daniel sought to  understand and humble himself before God, his words were heard.  These same words which apply to Daniel, apply to us. Daniel was someone who sought to know and understand God, humbled himself and made himself available.  We can do the same.

His relationship to God might have started as a young boy in Jerusalem, from a converted parent who instructed his son who was being handed over to the Babylonians to seek the Lord with all his heart.  Daniel first test came when he was to meat and drink sacrificed to the idols of Babylon.  Under the trail of Babylon we saw Daniel life blossom, as God him to help his people understand the plan God had for them.

God is the same today as he was yesterday (Heb. 13:8).  If we choose to humble ourselves and understand Him, God can use us. 

Your words: The answer came because Daniel prayed.  The angel came in response to the prayer because Daniel sought God.  Daniel had a relationship with Heaven.

Prince of the kingdom of Persia: This explanation by the angel unveils the spiritual realms and how believers are involved in the struggle for nations and souls.  Daniel is an ordinary man who had an extraordinary relationship with God.  He cultivated his relationship with God by prayer and righteous living.

Through Daniel’s prayer, God responded in the spiritual realms.  This portion of Daniel allows us to see how prayer and events in the physical realms are related.  Daniel at this point had prayed for 21-days, mourning and fasting.  What Daniel had been praying about we are not entirely sure, but the answer given by the angel hints at the reason of Daniel’s prayer.

The angel explains to Daniel why it took 21-days for Daniel to receive an answer to his prayer.  He refers to the “prince of the kingdom of Persia”, who withstood him for 21 days.  Daniel had been praying for 21-days, the angel explains from the first day Daniel’s prayer was heard but their was opposition.  Who is the “prince of the kingdom of Persia”?, is a topic of much discussion.

The Prince of Persia is not referring to Cyrus or any earthly ruler because the opposing force is spiritual.  The angel is spirit and he is being resisted in the spiritual realms.  The angel is talking about a fallen angel who rules over the kingdom of Persia.  The book of Ephesians explains this about the world we live in.


1 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:11-12

The “Flesh and blood” world is the result of spiritual battle, between heavenly forces, played out in the spiritual realms.  Through our prayer and involvement God’s will is accomplished in the physical world.  God allows his people to be part of his plan. Daniel 21-day period of prayer coincided with the spiritual resistance.  A breakthrough came when Michael came to the aid of this angel.

Michael:, intervened against the rulers of Persia in the spiritual realms.  Michael is only mentioned three times in the Old Testament (Daniel 10:13,21; 12:1).  Michael role is to watch over the descendents of Israel. When Michael intervened, this angel was freed to answer Daniel question.

Make you understand: The angel came to help Daniel what would happen to his people.  From the context of the answer, we can deduce Daniel’s prayer was for the situation of his people. 

Daniel, probably discouraged by news coming back from Jerusalem about opposition the returning Jews were receiving, mourned and prayed to God. The angel was sent to reveal to Daniel God’s plan and the eventual success of his people, the Jews and Israel.

Latter days: This phrase is used throughout the Old Testament meaning time at the end. The Hebrew words tyrxa 'achariyth means after part, hindermost and ~wyYowm means days. This phrase for the most part refers to the time of redemption of Israel. (See  Numbers 24:14, Deut. 4:30, 31:29, Isaiah 2:2, Jer. 23:20; 30:24; 48:47; 49:39; Ezekiel 38:8, Daniel 2:28, Hosea 3:5, Micah 4:1)

16 "You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes."

Ezekiel 38:16

Many days…come:  This prophecy deals with the end days of Israel in the distant future. 

Daniel strengthened second time

DA 10:15  When he had spoken such words to me, I turned my face toward the ground and became speechless.

DA 10:16  And suddenly, one having the likeness of the sons of men touched my lips; then I opened my mouth and spoke, saying to him who stood before me, "My lord, because of the vision my sorrows have overwhelmed me, and I have retained no strength.

DA 10:17  "For how can this servant of my lord talk with you, my lord? As for me, no strength remains in me now, nor is any breath left in me."

He spoken:  Daniel is overwhelmed by this message and again begins to collapse under the power of the message and his own frail condition.

Sons of men: We find as keep reading this section of Daniel there are at least three angels involved in this vision. (Daniel 12:5-7).

Like Isaiah, Daniel was overwhelmed by this great vision and the seriousness of it meaning.  Daniel had just enough strength to confess his weakness.


Daniel strengthened third time


DA 10:18  Then again, the one having the likeness of a man touched me and strengthened me.

DA 10:19  And he said, "O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!" So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, "Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me."

Likeness of a man: Daniel is strengthened a third time, by either the same angel in verse 10 and 16 or by another angel.  The angel then encourages Daniel to be strong in spite the harshness of the message. 

Throughout scripture, angels appear in of human likeness, we see this in Revelation where John is overwhelmed by the vision and falls at the foot of an angel to worship. The angel tells John that he is merely a ‘Fellow servant”

Greatly beloved: The angel encourages Daniel, “to not fear”. Even though Daniel at this point in his life experienced several angelic appearances including Gabriel in chapter 9, and the angel in the lions den chapter 6, Daniel was succumbing to fear and the serious nature of this vision.

Let my lord speak: This third strengthening by the angel gives Daniel the ability to remain until the end of the vision at the end of the 12th chapter.



Angelic revelation introduced


DA 10:20  Then he said, "Do you know why I have come to you? And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of Greece will come.

DA 10:21  "But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth. (No one upholds me against these, except Michael your prince.

Why I have come: The angel asks Daniel, if he understands why he is there with Daniel?   The angel had arrived to assure Daniel of God’s plan for his people, so Daniel would understand there is a great struggle from now until the time of the end.

This angel was relieved from his struggle with the Prince of Persia, by Michael, so he could explain to Daniel the coming events. 

Fight with the prince of Persia: This angel is personally involved in the struggle of nations along with Michael against the enemies of Israel.  This struggle with Persia would last from 536 B.C. to 333 B.C. whenGreece would finally defeat Persian king Darius III at Nineveh.

There is an angelic battle-taking place in the spiritual realms; this section of scripture illustrates the war hidden from our eyes.  The events such as World War I and II are more spiritual then most realize.  This picture of the Mufti of Jerusalem[2] meeting with Hitler prior to the Holocaust is a precursor to the struggle the Jews would face in the coming years in Germany and Jerusalem.  We could imagine the spiritual forces behind these struggles similar to the ones by this angel against the Prince of Persia.


Scripture of truth: Literally, the “writing of firmness”, what the angel is about to tell Daniel is scripture, “God’s word”.  Therefore, the angel was about tell Daniel what is recorded or inscribed. 

Michael your prince: Michael the arch angel is only mentioned 5 times in the Bible, three times in Daniel and 2 times in the New Testament (Jude 1:9, Rev. 12:7).

One of Michael responsibilities is to watch over the children of Israel, he is called “Prince” or rXSar meaning ruler over the house of Israel. In the end of days Michael will lead the angels in the final assault Satan’s access to Heaven. Satan will be cast to earth where he will make his final stand in this age against God, culminating in the battle known as Armageddon.


[1] Daniel the Key to Prophetic Revelation, Walvwoord, 1971 Moody Press,  pg. 243

[2] The Mufti of Jerusalem is the chief imam over Muslim affairs in the third most holy city in the Islamic faith. He would be the equivalent of the Bishop of Jerusalem, to understand his role.