- Lesson 12 in the BaptistWay Press Connect360 unit “Faith Under Fire” focuses on Daniel 10:1-21.
While some of the Jews already had returned to their homeland, some speculate that Daniel, now well past his physical prime, was too old to make the long and arduous journey. Also, he must have felt that he had some unfinished business to care for the people of God remaining back in Babylon.
In Daniel 10:5-6 looking upward, Daniel beholds “a certain man dressed in linen… .” The identity of this “man” has been the subject of endless speculation. Some see nothing less than a visit from a pre-incarnate Christ Jesus himself. Others, however, simply identify him as Gabriel, the messenger who appears in Daniel’s other visions (8:16; 9:21).
Before we come to any conclusion about the identity of this character, let’s examine the detailed description from the writer of Daniel.
- “Dressed in Linen”
- “His waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz.”
- “His body was like beryl.”
- “His face had the appearance of lightning.”
- “His eyes were like flaming torches.”
- “His arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze.”
- “The sound of his words like the sound of a tumult.”
Given this description of a glittering, gold being with a fierce face, fire-like eyes and thunderous speech, one question rivets the reader: Who is this “man”? While many scholars simply identify him as an angel (usually Gabriel) sent to deliver the message to Daniel, it seems more likely that the being before Daniel was none other than God, most likely in the person of the Messiah. The often-selected option of Gabriel seems unlikely, as Daniel previously encountered him (9:21) and had done so without any great fear.
From the New Testament, we find a portrait of the Christ painted with similar language in Revelation 1:11-16:
“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet, saying ‘Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.’ Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.”
Given the obvious and overwhelming likeness of Daniel’s vision with other visions of God/Christ in Scripture, it is difficult to discount the probability that much more than an angel is intended by the theophany-like description of the mysterious “man dressed in linen.”
In Daniel 10:7-9, we are reminded of the episode in Acts 9 where Paul’s companions did not fully share his experience of an encounter with the resurrected Jesus. They, however, both heard a sound and stood speechless. The men with Daniel, likewise, did not see the vision. Nonetheless, they sensed a great power, as they fled in fear. Having fully experienced the encounter, Daniel himself fainted, with his face buried in the ground.
Additionally, the near deathlike experience of Daniel in response to encountering the divine being makes it hard to conclude that the “man dressed in linen” is anyone else other than God in the person of the Christ. Remember John’s response to his encounter with the cosmic Christ, “…And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as a dead man” (Revelation 1:17).
Based on commentary written by Howard Batson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Amarillo, as condensed by Stan Granberry, marketing coordinator for BaptistWay Press.
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