Who does Daniel see in his vision in Daniel 10?
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:
I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.
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:
...while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice.
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.
Revelation 1:13 describes Christ "dressed in a robe reaching down to His feet", whereas Daniel 10:6 clearly states that he was able to see the man's "arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze". Christ is not dressed in a manner which exposes that much of His body. In fact, Revelation 1:15 states that the only visible part of Christ's legs were His feet, which "were like bronze glowing in a furnace". On top of that, the word "burnished" indicates a finished work, and means shining, polished bronze. However, John's description of Christ's feet "glowing in a furnace" indicates that He is still directly connected to the heat source of the Creator—God the Father, the "Master Craftsman"--and is therefore, emitting the intense heat and brightness of an object still in a metal smith's hands within a furnace.
Daniel 10:6 clearly states that the man had "a belt of finest gold around his waist", whereas Christ is described in Revelation 1:13 with a "golden sash around His chest".
The next undeniable difference is that the man in Daniel's vision had a "voice like the sound of a multitude" (Dan 10:6), this word is used over and over in the bible to refer to a great number of "something".
"Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking and rejoicing." (1 Kings 4:20)
"So when Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude; and there were their dead bodies, fallen on the earth. No one had escaped." (2 Chronicles 20:24)
"Those who trust in their wealth And boast in the multitude of their riches," (Psalm 49:6)
The word multitude, however is most often used--when not followed by an object--to a refer to a multitude of people.
"And now you think to withstand the kingdom of the Lord, which is in the hand of the sons of David; and you are a great multitude, and with you are the gold calves which Jeroboam made for you as gods." (2 Chronicles 13:8)
“Son of man, say to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his multitude: ‘Whom are you like in your greatness?" (Ezekiel 31:2)
Therefore, it can be safely assumed that Daniel meant when the angel spoke his voice was like that of a great number of people. In comparison, Revelation 1:15 John clearly states that Christ had a voice like "the sound of rushing waters", this is clearly a very different voice than the one heard by Daniel.
Lastly, although there is a similarity in the way the faces of both Christ and Daniel's vision are described, it is undeniable that the description of Christ yields a more intense picture than that of the angel described by Daniel. John describes Christ's face like "the sun shining in all its brilliance" (Revelation 1:16), but Daniel describes the face of his vision as definitively having a "face like lightning". Lightning can be viewed with the naked eye, but the sun shining in all its brilliance arguably can't even be seen without causing damage to one's eyesight. Daniel also describes his vision as having "eyes like flaming torches" versus John's description of Christ in Revelation 1:14 as having "eyes like blazing fire". A blazing torch, paints a picture of a fire contained, whereas a blazing fire, indicates a flame that is unconstrained and can spread. A fitting picture of the light of our Lord Jesus.
The Differences Outlined
╔═════════════╦════════════════════════════════╦═══════════════════════════════════════╗ ║ ║ MAN IN DANIEL 10:6 ║ CHRIST IN REVELATION 1:13-15 ║ ╠═════════════╬════════════════════════════════╬═══════════════════════════════════════╣ ║ CLOTHING ║ short linen garment ║ long robe reaching to his feet ║ ║ ║ (arms/legs exposed) ║ (only hands/feet exposed) ║ ║ ║ ║ ║ ║ BODY ║ arms/legs burnished bronze ║ feet, bronze glowing in a furnace ║ ║ ║ (polished, indicates finished, ║ (still heated, very hot/bright) ║ ║ ║ shining work) ║ ║ ║ ║ ║ ║ ║ ACCESSORIES ║ golden belt around waist ║ golden sash around chest ║ ║ ║ ║ ║ ║ VOICE ║ sound of a multitude (people) ║ sound of rushing waters ║ ║ ║ ║ ║ ║ FACE ║ like lightning ║ the sun shining in all its brilliance ║ ║ ║ ║ ║ ║ EYES ║ blazing torches ║ blazing fire ║ ╚═════════════╩════════════════════════════════╩═══════════════════════════════════════╝
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 taken this view (Keil, Matthew Henry, Alexander Arthur, E. B. Elliot, etc.).
For example, the German and always so conservative scholar Keil takes this view:
This heavenly form has thus, it is true, the shining white talar common to the angel, Ezek. 9:9, but all the other features, as here described—the shining of his body, the brightness of his countenance, his eyes like a lamp of fire, arms and feet like glistering brass, the sound of his speaking—all these point to the revelation of the כְּבֹוד יְהֹוָה, the glorious appearance of the Lord, Ezek. 1, and teach us that the אִישׁ seen by Daniel was no common angel-prince, but a manifestation of Jehovah, i.e., the Logos. This is placed beyond a doubt by a comparison with Rev. 1:13–15, where the form of the Son of man whom John saw walking in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks is described like the glorious appearance seen by Ezekiel and Daniel. (Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (1996). Commentary on the Old Testament (Vol. 9, p. 766). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.)
One of the best classic commentaries written on Daniel takes this view and adds:
His hovering on the water of the river reminds me of him who walked on the Sea of Galilee; and his two attendant angels remind me of him who talked with Abraham, and sent his two attendants to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. If I am mistaken in the pictures, I am willing to hug my own delusion. (A critical Commentary on the Book of Daniel, by Alexander Arthur, Page 190, 1893)
I think the key point to consider is that although the one described in Daniel 10:4-6 is Christ, starting at verse 10 where ‘a hand’ touches him it is not the person of 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:
- Is the speaker all along the man clothed in linen? I think not. 2. Are these so-called princes, as Jerome has taught, the guardian angels of different countries, holy angels who fight with one another? Again, I think not. 1. This man clothed in linen is again mentioned only in the 12th chapter, ver. 6, and there he is upon the waters of the river, like Jesus walking on the sea ; but we are not told where he was in the eleventh chapter. (A critical Commentary on the Bok of Daniel, by Alexander Arthur, Page 193, 1893)
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 says:
Here, besides the obvious similarity in respect of the terms and manner of the oath, as lifting up his hand to heaven, and swearing by Him that liveth for ever, it is evident from the context that He who used it was the Angel Jehovah, just as in the Apocalyptic vision under consideration. [On his first appearance to Daniel, he is thus described. “As I was by the side of the great river Hiddekel, I lifted up mine eyes, and looked. And behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz! His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words as the voice of a multitude.” Dan. 10:4–6. Comparing this with the description of Christ in the 1st of the Apocalypse, the correspondence seems such as almost necessarily to involve identity]. (Elliott, E. B. (1862). Horæ Apocalypticæ or A Commentary on the Apocalypse, Critical and Historical, Volume 2)
There are total 4 persons mentioned from Daniel 10:5 till Daniel 12:5-7.
Jesus Christ: The person Daniel saw in chapter 10:5-6 is definitely Jesus Christ - 5: there was a certain man dressed in linen...6: his face had the appearance of lightning and the rest of the men could not see the vision and ran away in fear... This is similar to Pauls divine encounter with Jesus Acts 9:7 - And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
Angel: 10 - Then behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 18 Then this one with human appearance touched me again and strengthened me. The prince of persia held this angel for 21 days.
2 other angels are mentioned in Chapter 12:5, and in 12:6 - And one said to the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, "How long will it be until the end of these wonders?" 12:7 I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever...
This person was again Jesus Christ signified by 1. linen, 2. hovering over waters, 3. standing away from Daniel as Daniel was on land as he fell on the ground when he first saw Jesus (10:9) and 4. His swearing by God the Father with the authority of His Son.
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 :)