Who Does Daniel See and Hear in Daniel 10:5–9?

By | April 25, 2024

Daniel received his final vision in Daniel 10–12. As with previous visions (cf. Daniel 7:16; 8:16–17; 9:21–23), Daniel saw angels and heard them speak (e.g., Daniel 12:5). In this vision, however, there is debate among Bible-believing theologians over the identity of the messenger who told Daniel of things to come (cf. Daniel 11:2–12:3).

Some identify Daniel’s messenger as an angel. Being awesome in appearance, the angel’s arrival caused Daniel to faint (cf. Daniel 8:18; Matt 28:3–4). Being under divine authority, the angel submitted to being “sent” (Daniel 10:11).Being powerful but not omnipotent, the angel claimed to have come after fighting a demon—“the prince of kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days” (Daniel 10:13; cf. 10:20). Even then, the messenger was there speaking to Daniel only because the angel “Michael, one the chief princes, came to help” him fight the demon (Daniel 10:13). As the angel Gabriel had previously come to Daniel (Daniel 8:16; 9:21), perhaps this angel was also Gabriel, maybe a chief angel alongside the archangel Michael (Daniel 10:21b), who was allowed an appearance similar to Jesus in a vision seen by John (Daniel 10:5–6, 10; Revelation 1:12–17).

Others identify this messenger as the Son of God.The similarities in appearance and actions between Daniel 10:5–9 and Revelation 1:12–17 (as well as Ezekiel 1:26–28 and Acts 9:4a, 7; 22:9) could identify this messenger as the Son of God. He was sent by the Father (Daniel 10:13), sovereignly withheld His omnipotent power as He fought a weaker being (Daniel 10:13, 20; cf. Gen 32:22–32), and enlisted Michael’s help just as He employs angels for other tasks (Jude 9).

Others identify two different figures, the first being the Son of God in Daniel 10:5–9 and then an angel as the messenger in Daniel 10:10 and following. I personally believe this option is best by combining the reasons listed above. There are undeniable parallels between Daniel 10:5–9 and other passages that clearly identify the Son of God (Ezekiel 1:26–28; Acts 9:4a, 7; 22:9; Revelation 1:12–17). In the progress of revelation, perhaps the New Testament passages provide a commentary to identify whom Daniel saw. Once Daniel faints, the Son of God apparently leaves after Daniel 10:9 so as not to overwhelm Daniel again. Then, in Daniel 10:10, an angel sent by God (most likely Gabriel; cf. Daniel 8:16–18; 9:21–23) arrives after receiving Michael’s help to fight a demon (Daniel 10:11, 13, 20). He extends his hand to strengthen Daniel who then hears a prophecy of things to come (cf. Daniel 11:2–12:3).

Image from p. 961 of The Art Bible: Comprising the Old and New Testaments (London: George Newnes, Ltd., 1896).

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