Song of Songs

Daniel 10, Darkness and Understanding
During the Christian Era
    The tenth chapter of Daniel introduces the eleventh.  It shows how the prophet looked for and received understanding, and it ends with Gabriel ready to tell him "what is noted in the Scripture of Truth."  But Daniel's experience seems a little strange.  He fasted, saw a vision, slept, trembled on hands and knees, stood, received understanding that made him speechless, was touched, and so on.  Why was the experience so complex?  Why was it preserved for us?
    I believe it traces the experience of the church as the Song of Songs does.  Specifically, I believe the prophet was shown, in his own experience, how the understanding of the central vision of his book would develop during the time of the Christian church.  From the parallels chart you can see how the sketch of Daniel's experiences matches certain points in the Song of Solomon.  Let's examine the chapter.
    Verse 1 is an introduction.  It reveals that the issue concerns understanding a message (alternatively translated "word") about a long time (or "great conflict").  After this summary, Daniel proceeds to tell us the circumstances of his gaining understanding.
    The theme of "understanding" appears here and there through the whole book, but the description of the issue in 10:1 specifically points us back to chapter 8.  Daniel (in 8:15, 16) saw "one having the appearance of a man" who instructed Gabriel to make him understand the vision that had just transpired.
    So Gabriel proceeded to tell more about the ram, the goat, the terrible beast with ten horns, and the new horn that grew up.  But he didn't explain the 2300 days ("evenings and mornings," NRSV).  Notice the last two verses in the chapter: "And the vision of the evenings and mornings which was told is true; therefore seal up the vision for it refers to many days in the future.  And I, Daniel, fainted and was sick for days; afterward I arose and went about the king's business.  I was astonished by the vision but no one understood it."
    The unexplained part is in verses 13, 14.  "Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, 'How long will the vision be . . . giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled under foot?' And he said to me, 'For two thousand three hundred days [evenings and mornings], then the sanctuary shall be cleansed [restored/vindicated].'"
    Here we can see that the conflict of the long time in Daniel 10:1 developed because the sanctuary (Christ and His ministry, Ex. 25:8; Ps. 77:13) and the host (His people, Dan. 8:9-11; 7:21-27) were being trampled.  2300 prophetic days apparently seemed like a very long time to Daniel who was expecting the end of the 70 years prophesied by Jeremiah (Dan. 9:2).  Daniel wanted very much to understand.
    Gabriel had returned in chapter 9 to explain more, but here in chapter 10, after the summary verse, we find the prophet mourning (verses 2, 3) until he saw "a certain man clothed in linen" (4-6) and Gabriel appeared to bring still more understanding (11, 14). The man in linen (10:5, 6) was evidently the One who had instructed Gabriel in chapter 8 and, from Daniel's description, the One whom John saw as Christ in Revelation 1:10-20.
    Daniel's experience in chapter 10 rehearses his anxiety of chapter 8 and projects his struggle for understanding on through to the conflict's resolution which was to occur after the 2300 days (Dan. 8:13, 14). After earnestly seeking to understand the message of the long time (Dan. 10:1-3), Daniel saw another vision (4-7).  Then Gabriel came to explain what was to happen during the long time (verses 12 and 21 and all of chapter 11 on through 12:4).  But revelation was in more than the story of the kings of south and north (chapter 11).  Daniel slept with his face to the ground, he trembled on hands and knees, he stood, he was touched, and so on. I believe the trauma he experienced reflects how God's New Testament people would relate to the understanding of his prophecy of 2300 days. 
    The experience ends (10:21) with Michael standing in defense, reflecting His standing during the time of trouble from which the sons of Daniel's people would be delivered (Dan. 12:1).
Prophetic instruction through experience is not unique with Daniel.  God has, on other occasions, communicated truth to His prophets by ways other than dreams and visions.  This is similar to revelations experienced by Ezekiel (Ezek. 5), Isaiah, Hosea, John (Rev. 10:8-11), and others.
    Now turn to Daniel chapter 12 (verses 5-13) and notice the prophet after hearing Gabriel's long explanation covering 11:1 to 12:4.  He sees the same Man in linen.  Again he hears the question from chapter 8, How long?  And he hears the answer, but not measured from his time as the 2300 days were.  Now he is told that resolution will follow the period of the shattering of the holy people (12:7; 7:25, 26).  In the commentary at Song 2:5 and in the chapter, "Prophetic Time Periods," we concluded that the 1260 days ended in 1798 and that the 2300 days ended soon after in 1844.
    As usual Daniel wants to understand but is told to go because the words had been sealed until the time of the end (Dan. 12:8, 9).  Notice, in the next verse, that the issue of understanding has now become the concern of the people who were purified (Also see 12:10; 11:35; Lev. 16:30; Isa. 61:10; Rev. 7:14).  Thus it is reasonable to look for their darkness, shattering, understanding, disappointment, etc. through Daniel's experiences in chapter 10. 
    Finally, the elderly prophet was promised that he would rise again at the end of the days (12:13; Compare 10:11).  Taking this prediction to be symbolic like other experiences of chapter 10, we may see Daniel's rising as the end-time rise of understanding of his book,  particularly the sealed part (12:4) about the evenings and mornings.
    You and I may understand.  We may experience the promise of restoration after the 2300 days as we wash our robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:14).  It will be to us more than a theological discussion of decoding prophecy.  We may experience the meaning of the understanding.  God has promised: "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13).  We may say with the Shulamite, "If I should find you outside, I would kiss you; I would not be despised.  I would lead you and bring you into the house of my mother, she who used to instruct me" (Song 8:1, 2).

    Daniel 10 is represented in the time line comparison because:  (1) It runs parallel with the Song of Songs narration;  (2) It may be seen as part of an unfolding understanding of the vision of many days and of great conflict (Dan 10:1); and (3) Daniel's desire to understand is fulfilled in the Christian era (12:10, 13) through
partial understanding,
better understanding resulting in discouragement and loss of speech,
having his lips touched,
receiving peace, and finally
full strength.


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Compare Dan. 10 (above)