Final Vision - Introduction

The tenth chapter of Daniel introduces the final vision received from one with the “appearance of a man.” The vision is described in detail in chapter 11, and it includes verbal links to the book’s preceding visions. It begins by expanding on the vision of the “Goat” with a prominent horn that overthrew the Ram and the division of the Greek empire into four “lesser kingdoms.”

The vision will then focus on the intermittent warfare between two of those Greek realms until the rise of the “contemptible” king and the “Abomination that Desolates” at the end of chapter 11.

In chapter 10, the conflicts between angelic forces set the stage for the change of empires and conflicts pictured in chapter 11. Angelic involvement demonstrates the control of Yahweh over the historical processes that were taking place in Daniel’s day.

THE SETTING


The vision is dated to the “third year of Cyrus.” This means Daniel did not return to Jerusalem after Cyrus released the Jewish exiles. It was received when he was beside the Tigris River in Persian territory (the Hiddekel, Genesis 2:14, Daniel 10:1-9).

At the time, Daniel was in “mourning three-sevens of days” - twenty-one days. Here, he delimits time in the same manner as in the preceding chapter (e.g., “three-sevens,” “seven-sevens”). The Hebrew text adds the term yôm or “day,” which is emphatic in the sentence. Thus, the angel did not arrive until the “three-sevens” had run their course.

In the preceding vision concerning the “seventy weeks,” Gabriel “divided seven-sevens” into THREE divisions of “seven-sevens,” “sixty-two sevens,” and one “seven.” In the interpretation of the “fourth beast,” the “little horn” persecuted the “saints” over a THREEFOLD period - “season, seasons, part of a season.” Similarly, in chapter 10, the angel divides the period into “THREE sevens of days.”

Here, Daniel is identified as the one “whose name was called Belteshazzar.” This is a link to the first chapter of the book where he was given this Babylonian name. The final vision of “Belteshazzar” will now complete the revelation that began seven decades earlier - (Daniel 1:6-7).

And now, “a thing was revealed to Daniel… and faithful was the matter.” In other words, Daniel received further insight into the matter previously disclosed. More correctly in the Hebrew text, the term rendered “great warfare” in many English versions reads the “great host” as in an army. It is a verbal link to the vision of the “Ram and Goat”:

  • (Daniel 8:10-13) – “Yea, it became great as far as the HOST OF THE HEAVENS, and caused to fall to the earth some of THE HOST and some of the stars, and trampled them underfoot, even as far as the ruler of THE HOST showed his greatness, and because of him was taken away the daily burnt offering, and the place of the sanctuary was cast down, and a HOST was set over the daily burnt offerings by transgression, and faithfulness was cast down to the ground and so he acted with effect, and succeeded.

Now, Daniel was to receive “understanding in the vision,” singular. The term rendered “vision” occurs five times in the interpretation of the “Ram and Goat,” in the “seventy weeks” prophecy, and, as here, always in the singular. The prophet will now receive further information on that same vision - (Daniel 8:15-16, 8:26-27, 9:23).

UNDERSTANDING THE VISION


Daniel was troubled by his understanding of the earlier vision and its significance for the Jewish nation, which is why he fasted and mourned. The men with him did not understand, another link to the earlier visions that caused Daniel great turmoil - (Daniel 7:28, 8:27: “And I, Daniel, fainted, and was sick certain days; then I rose up, and did the king’s business: and I wondered at the vision, but none understood it”) - (Daniel 10:10-15).

In verses 10-15 there are further parallels to the preceding visions in how Daniel interacted with the angels in the present chapter. For example, in chapter 8, Gabriel was sent to make Daniel “understand the vision.” Frightened, he fell on his face and into “a deep sleep,” but Gabriel touched him and set him upright.

Gabriel declared to the prophet, “O Daniel, GREATLY BELOVED, have UNDERSTANDING.” This provides more verbal parallels to the earlier visions, including the “seventy weeks.” Previously, “understanding” and “beloved” were both used by Gabriel when he addressed Daniel and described the period of “seventy-sevens.”

  • (Daniel 9:22-23) – “O Daniel, I am now come forth to give you wisdom and UNDERSTANDING. At the beginning of your supplications, the commandment went forth, and I am come to tell you, for you are GREATLY BELOVED, therefore consider the matter and understand the vision.

The connection to the previous visitation by the angel is important. The next revelation will provide a further understanding of the preceding one concerning the “seventy-sevens.”

For from the first day that you set your heart to understand and to humble yourself.” This statement refers to the preceding chapter where Daniel inquired about the “word” of Yahweh given through Jeremiah, and his petition to God over the “desolations of Jerusalem” - (Daniel 9:1-23).

The references in the passage to the “ruler of Persia” and the “ruler of Greece” link the angelic visitation to the earlier vision of the “Ram and the Goat,” and they prepare the reader for the next chapter where that conflict is described within history.

Since minimal information is provided on the “ruler (Sar) of Persia,” it is difficult to conclude who and what he was.  He is labeled a sar or “ruler.” Since he is contrasted with “Michael,” the “chief prince (sar),” he probably is an angel of some rank - (Daniel 11:1-4, 12:1-4).

This “prince” represents the realm of Persia. Whether he is good or malevolent is not stated. The passage prepares us for the rise of Greece to become the next incarnation of the World Empire, and to understand that larger forces are at work behind the scenes of history.

THE AFTERPART OF DAYS


A chronological key is given, “in the AFTERPART OF THE DAYS.” The same term was used in the vision of the “Ram and the Goat.” By itself, it does not mean the “last days” and does not necessarily refer to the final years of history. This is the same period referred to earlier as the “AFTERPART of the indignation” and the “AFTERPART of their kingdom” - that is, the later years of the Greek kingdoms.

It also connects the passage to the dream of Nebuchadnezzar when God showed the king “what things will come to pass in the AFTERPART OF DAYS.” That dream also concerned the eventual destruction of the World Empire and the establishment of God’s kingdom - (Daniel 2:28, 8:19, 8:23).

The passage again refers to “the vision,” singular, referring to a specific vision concerning “the afterpart of days.” In context, this is the vision received in chapter 8, which was expanded upon in chapter 9 - (Daniel 8:1-2, 8:13-17, 8:26, 9:21-24).

Daniel set his “face toward the ground” and was silent. Likewise, in the vision of the “Ram and the Goat” he fell into a deep sleep with his “FACE TOWARD THE GROUND” after the angel had finished speaking with him - (Daniel 8:19, 10:15-21).

In verse 20, the angel applies the term “latter days” to the period of the kingdoms of Persia and Greece (“for yet is the vision for those days”). At this point, the division of chapters in modern Bible translations is unfortunate. The first paragraph of chapter 11 summarizes the historical events that are of concern in chapter 10, and it transitions the narrative to the conflicts between two of the four Greek kingdoms that are recorded in the remainder of the eleventh chapter.

When interpreting Daniel’s visions, it is vital to consider the many verbal links between them. While new information is provided in the book’s final vision, it builds on the previous visions, and several times, the same events are referred to from them such as the “Abomination that Desolates.”


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