Daniel’s visions today occur during the reign of that ambiguous “Darius the Mede,” and during the reign of Cyrus, of whom much more is known. Cyrus had united the tribes of the north coast of the Persian Gulf, and within twenty years had assimilated the Medes, swept west through Asia Minor, then south through Babylon. Persia was the largest single empire Western Asia had yet seen, and would remain so for two centuries, until Alexander’s Macedonians eclipsed them all.
This is not mere trivia. Today’s visions deal with these present and future events beginning in the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia. In chapter 10, keep your focus on Daniel, whose interactions are more detailed and intricate than we’ve yet seen. The first vision begins while Daniel is in mourning – it’s unclear why – on the banks of the Tigris River. Here he sees someone familiar to us: a man clothed in linen. Daniel is driven to his knees. He’s reminded, as Joshua was, to “fear not,” and twice assured that he is “a man greatly loved.”
The man says he’s been sent to Daniel with a personal mission: to “tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth…” And this truth, which is revealed further in chapters 11 and 12, concerns the future of Israel, Persia, and the entire world. Persia’s success in the near-term is secure, but a mighty king shall arise… and rule with great dominion, but as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken and divided toward the four winds of heaven…”
I won’t get in the way of the rest, as the visions taken together build to an emotional climax, but pay attention to the very end – which contains a personal message for Daniel. These texts have been parsed, measured and analyzed for over two millennia. Look for Daniel’s attitude, at what assurances the messengers grant him, and appreciate these visions through his eyes and ears.
Our verses for this week are Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Daniel 10 through 12. Now let’s read it!
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.