Although God has countless heavenly messengers, only two are named in the Bible: Gabriel and Michael. These heavenly messengers fill many functions in the Bible; for example, they are members of God’s divine council, they lead the heavenly army, and they deliver the words of God. In Daniel, Gabriel is a messenger in the most literal sense, bringing a revelation to Daniel through the explanations of a dream and of Scripture. Gabriel’s announcements about the coming Liberator do not end with Daniel. In the New Testament book of Luke, he is the one who announces the impending births of John the Baptist and Jesus to Zechariah and Mary, respectively.
10 1-2 In the third year of King Cyrus’ reign over the Persian Empire, Daniel, who had been named Belteshazzar by his Babylonian captors, received a word from God through another vision. The message proved reliable, and it had to do with a great war. Daniel understood the word and gained insight into the future through this vision. Here is his account.
These events happen around 535 b.c., when Babylonia is part of Persia.
Daniel: When I received this vision, I, Daniel, had been in mourning for three weeks. 3 I had eaten very little, no meat and no rich foods at all. I had not enjoyed the taste of wine, nor had I used any oils to bathe or groom myself. I continued this way throughout the three full weeks. 4 The vision came to me on the 24th day of the 1st month. As I was on the bank of the great Tigris River, 5 I lifted my eyes and saw what seemed at first to be a man dressed in linen clothing. Around his waist was a belt made of the purest gold. 6 His body had the appearance of yellow topaz; his face was bright like flashes of lightning; his eyes flamed like torches; his arms and legs sparkled like polished bronze; his voice sounded like thunder. 7 I, Daniel, alone saw this man and heard his voice. Though there were others around me who did not see this sight, they were still overcome with fear and ran to hide. I did not. 8 I was left all alone to witness this glorious sight. My strength soon left me. My face was drained of its natural color, and I was confused. I had no energy at all. 9 Then I heard his voice and caught the sound of his words. As I did, I fell into a deep sleep—my face pressed to the ground. 10 Just then, a mighty hand touched me and lifted my trembling body onto my hands and knees.
Messenger: 11 Daniel, you are highly regarded by God. I have been sent to help you understand the destiny of your people. Stand up and listen carefully to what I have to tell you.
As he spoke, I slowly rose to my feet, though I was still shaking.
Messenger: 12 Do not be afraid, Daniel. From the very first day that you began to pursue understanding and humble yourself before your God, your words have been heard. I have been sent in response to what you’ve said. 13 I would have been here sooner; however, for the past 21 days the spirit prince of Persia opposed me and prevented my coming to you. Then Michael, one of the chief princes of heaven, came to my aid because I alone was busy dealing with the kings of Persia. 14 I have come to help you understand what will happen to your people in the last days,[a] for this vision is about a time yet to come.
15 As he was saying all this to me, I dropped my head and looked at the ground, completely quiet, unable to respond. 16 Then one who looked like the sons of men approached and touched my lips. After that I was able to open my mouth and speak again. I turned to the one standing before me.
Daniel: My lord, what I have seen has left me utterly depressed. I have no strength left. 17 How can I, your humble servant, even begin to address someone like you, my lord? My strength is gone, and I can hardly catch my breath.
18 Again the one who looked like a man reached out and touched me. With that I felt my strength begin to return.
Messenger: 19 Do not be afraid, you who are highly regarded by God. May peace rest on you and make you whole; be strong; be brave.
At his words, I grew even stronger.
Daniel: Please continue, my lord, for your words have given me strength.
Messenger: 20 Do you realize, now, the reason I have come to you? Soon I must return to continue the fight with the spirit prince of Persia. When I do go, the spirit prince of Greece will come to do battle. 21 Nevertheless, I will tell you what is inscribed in the scroll of truth. No one stands with me against the guardians except for Michael, your heavenly prince.
- 10:14 This is a reference to the end of the age, but not to the end of the world.