Who does Daniel see in his vision in Daniel 10?
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Could it have been Jesus?
I doubt it could be Jesus, because the implication of verses 12-13 is that the speaker was restrained by the "prince of the Persian kingdom"; I doubt the prince could have restrained Jesus.
So is it an angel or a human?
Verses 5-6 show that the person is an angel:
Can we know the identity of the angel?
It cannot have been Michael, because the speaker refers to him (in verses 13 & 21).
So it must be either Gabriel or an unnamed angel. However, Daniel recognised Gabriel when he appeared in a previous vision: Daniel 9:21:
Since he does not recognise Gabriel this time, it is also not likely to be him. Therefore my conclusion is: it is an unnamed angel.
1 List includes other Biblical characters also named Michael.
Although many sources claim otherwise, it is clear after examining the scripture, that the man whom Daniel encounters is NOT Jesus Christ. When people compare Daniel's vision of this angel to the similarity of John's vision of Christ in Revelation they do not seem to take notice of the differences in the details of their descriptions.
The Differences Outlined
It was an angel that Daniel witnessed, most likely of a high order, because the other two angels that appear on either side of him, inquire of his knowledge in Daniel 12:5-6. John's vision of Christ dwarfs Daniel's vision when compared in intensity, and it is imperative to understand that when Daniel saw his vision he stood "gazing at this great vision" although he "had no strength left" and his "face turned deathly pale" and "was helpless". He also "fell into a deep sleep [his] face to the ground", when he "listened to him" (Daniel 10:8-9). Whereas when John saw Christ, "he fell at his feet as though dead" (Revelation 1:17). This difference in reaction must not be ignored. Daniel was able to stand before his vision, and although he felt helpless and turned pale, it was not until the vision spoke that his body was taken into a state of "deep sleep" with his "face to the ground". Make no mistake, John "fell down as though dead" at the very sight of Christ. Daniel, did not see Christ, or his reaction would no doubt have been exactly the same upon merely viewing this being.
Some have taken this vision to be an angel (Lange’s Commentary, Moses Stuart, Calvin, etc.). On the contrary, I think we can conclusively state that ‘yes’ this is the Son of God, at least as understood by New Testament writers. The similarity between this vision and that by John’s vision in Rev Chapter 1 makes it very hard not to draw any other conclusion. Naturally, many commentators have therefore taking this view (Keil, Matthew Henry, Alexander Arthur, E. B. Elliot, etc.).
For example, the German and always so conservative scholar Keil takes this view:
One of the best classic commentaries of written on Daniel takes this view and adds:
I think the key point to consider is that although in Daniel 10:4-6 is Christ, staring at verse 10 where ‘a hand’ touches him it is not the person if the vision but an angel who is involved in communicating the meaning of the vision of Christ. This is probably what causes some commentaries to go astray and miss the obvious similitude to Rev Chapter 1.
Alexander Arthur again to me follows a persuasive position:
Having chosen again the view of ‘an angel’, it should be noted that in precise language many take this to be an angel of sorts that is the ‘Angel Jehovah’ who is often considered by many commentators the pre-human visitation of the Son of God, i.e. the logos. But the angel in this sense is not to be confused with a mere angel, but the Son of God. E. B. Elliot in his classic four volume commentary of Revelation makes this distinction in reference to Daniel Chapter 10. Commenting on Rev 10:5-7 Elliot makes this sort of distinction:
Id like to put forward that the slight differences in description of the glorious man in Daniel and the description of Jesus in Revelation, and the fact that Daniels glorious man had to fight the "prince of the Persian kingdom" could be because Jesus had not been glorified and yet to destroy the works of the devil by going to the cross (where all victory is won). Where as with John, Jesus carries a whole new level of authority and glory... Just something to think about... I swing towards believing that the description in Daniel is too similar to the description of Christ in Revelation. But we all see dimly don't we :)