I. THE YEAR OF THIS VISION
"In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a word was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar" (10:1a). The third year of Cyrus, the king of Persia, the year of this vision, was about 534 B.C., when Daniel was eighty-seven years of age.
II. THE MAIN SUBJECT OF THE VISION
The main subject of the vision concerning the destiny of Israel is the great distress. The Hebrew word translated distress in 10:1b denotes trial, distress, conflict, warfare, or an army. Here it refers to a great distress suffered by God’s people. That distress came upon Israel from a war between the king of the south and the king of the north, referring to Egypt and Syria respectively. When Syria and Egypt fought each other, they waged war on Israel’s land because it was used as a thoroughfare for the two kings to invade each other. These wars were a distress, a trial, to the children of Israel. This was especially true of the war that was waged by a descendant of one of the four successors of Alexander the Great who was at that time the king of Syria. This descendant, Antiochus Epiphanes, a full type of Antichrist, was a real trial sent by God to His chosen people, because they had become corrupt after their return from captivity.
III. THE SCENE IN THE UNIVERSE
BEFORE THE RELEASE OF THIS VISION
Daniel 10:2—11:1 shows us the scene in the universe—the spiritual world behind the physical—before the release of this vision.
A. Daniel Setting His Heart
to Understand the Future of Israel
Daniel, a man on the earth, set his heart to understand the future, the destiny, of Israel (vv. 2-3, 12). This he did for twenty-one days.
B. The Excellent Christ Appearing to Daniel
After those twenty-one days, Daniel saw a particular vision in 10:4-9. The excellent Christ, the centrality and universality of God’s move on the earth, appeared to Daniel for his appreciation, consolation, encouragement, expectation, and stabilization.
Before showing Daniel the great distress, God revealed to him the excellent man described in these verses. Daniel may not have known that this man was the Messiah, but I believe that Daniel understood that this One was the Lord as a man. That man was not only Jehovah but Jehovah becoming a man.
In our eyes the incarnation took place at a definite point in time, whereas in God’s view there is only the fact but no time element. In the universe there is the fact that the Triune God became a man. This is revealed in Matthew and Luke. But in Genesis 18 when three persons came to Abraham, there was one among the three who was Jesus. He came as a man to visit Abraham. In Daniel 10 this man appeared to Daniel. When He appeared as a man to Abraham, He was an ordinary man with no particular characteristics. However, He appeared to Daniel with many wonderful characteristics. This excellent Christ appeared to Daniel for his appreciation, consolation, encouragement, expectation, and stabilization.
(Life-Study of Daniel, Chapter 15, by Witness Lee)