“Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future,” (10:14).
It’s the question every human being eventually asks. “What is my purpose?” And tucked inside that question is this inherent desire to know what lies ahead. How are we to live in order to accomplish our purpose and successfully arrive at Our Future? Understanding Our Future gives meaning to our present, and yes, even our past.
Daniel 10 begins a vision that will continue throughout the remainder of this book, a vision of what will happen to his people in the latter days, the days yet Future.
By now, Daniel is an old man; taken into exile as a youth and living through the seventy years of captivity, he is quite possibly past ninety years of age. Much is behind him, and perhaps not many days left ahead on this earth.
And this vision comes after he had been mourning and fasting for three weeks. Scholars offer three possible reasons for Daniel’s state of lament: he was grieved by those who had been offered the freedom to return to their homeland but who chose to stay in Babylon; he mourned after hearing of the opposition against the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem; the previous visions of end times had left him in a state of distress. And perhaps, it was a combination of all three; reminding us that we live in a time that incessantly offers a combination of concerning calamities.
But again, we find Daniel in a familiar place, in that place of humility and discipline, that place that seems to invite God’s Presence and an Understanding. And from that place, Daniel lifted his eyes to see.
In those days, I, Daniel, had been mourning for three entire weeks. 3 I did not eat any tasty food, nor did meat or wine enter my mouth, nor did I use any ointment at all until the entire three weeks were completed. 4 On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, while I was by the bank of the great river, that is, the Tigris, 5 I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz. 6 His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult, (10:2-6).
And the details of “a certain man,” describe One like John saw on the island of Patmos, “one like a son of man.”
and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. 14 His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. 15 His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. 16 In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. 17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, 18 and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades,” (Revelation 1:13-17).
And seeing almost proved to be Daniel’s undoing, and hearing the sound of His words absolutely knocked him out.
Now I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, while the men who were with me did not see the vision; nevertheless, a great dread fell on them, and they ran away to hide themselves. 8 So I was left alone and saw this great vision; yet no strength was left in me, for my natural color turned to a deathly pallor, and I retained no strength. 9 But I heard the sound of his words; and as soon as I heard the sound of his words, I fell into a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground, (10:7-9).
With what Daniel saw, with what he heard, came a tremendous need for an Understanding. And God, so faithful to His humble servant, sent a messenger to provide for his need.
Then behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 11 He said to me, “O Daniel, man of high esteem, understand the words that I am about to tell you and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” (10:10).
And the messenger begins by shedding light on the spiritual warfare demanded in order to arrive with the words for Daniel. And as Daniel listens, he can barely contain himself, weakened by the privilege, yet strengthened by the message sent by Him Who Gives an Understanding for Our Future.
And behold, one who resembled a human being was touching my lips; then I opened my mouth and spoke and said to him who was standing before me, “O my lord, as a result of the vision anguish has come upon me, and I have retained no strength. 17 For how can such a servant of my lord talk with such as my lord? As for me, there remains just now no strength in me, nor has any breath been left in me.” 18 Then this one with human appearance touched me again and strengthened me. 19 He said, “O man of high esteem, do not be afraid. Peace be with you; take courage and be courageous!” Now as soon as he spoke to me, I received strength and said, “May my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.” 20 Then he said, “Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come, (10:16-20).
And as if to explain it all, as if to elaborate on how Daniel could ever gain an Understanding for his Future, God’s messenger explains, what Daniel needs is “inscribed in the writing of truth.”
“However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth…” (10:21).
From Barnes’ Notes on the Bible: The word noted here means “written, or recorded.” The scripture of truth means the true writing, and the reference is doubtless to the Divine purposes or decrees in this matter – for
(a) there is no other writing where these things were then found;
(b) the angel came to make known what could be known in no other way, and therefore what was not yet found in any book to which man had access;
(c) this language accords with common representations in the Scriptures respecting future events.
They are described as written down in a book that is in the hands of God, in which are recorded all future events – the names of those that shall be saved – and all the deeds of men…
The representation is figurative, of course; and the meaning is, that, in the view of the Divine mind, all future events are as certain as if they were actually recorded as history, or as if they were now all written down. The angel came that he might unfold a portion of that volume, and disclose the contents of its secret pages; that is, describe an important series of events of great interest to the Jewish people and to the world at large.
From Benson Commentary: “Namely, that which is certainly determined by God. God’s decrees are spoken of as if they were committed to writing, and registered in a book.”
And in the next two chapters, the angel will reveal to Daniel the determined decrees of Him Who Gives an Understanding for Our Future.
In the Hebrew, this English word, “understanding,” is actually a verb. But the NASB translation reminds us that we are not given full Understanding, but “an” Understanding; given what we need to walk through this life, not by what we see, but by faith, as He guides us by Holy Spirit in “what is inscribed in the writing of truth,” and Gives an Understanding for Our Future perfectly provided in His God-Breathed Word.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV).
Consider Him Who Gives an Understanding for Our Future
- He Gives an Understanding for Our Future through the Light of His Word.
- The unfolding of Your words gives light;
It gives understanding to the simple, (Psalm 119:130).
- The unfolding of Your words gives light;
- He Gives an Understanding for Our Future as His Holy Spirit reminds us of His Word.
- But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you, (John 14:26).
- He Gives an Understanding for Our Future as His Holy Spirit discloses what is to come.
- But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come, (John 16:13).
- He Gives an Understanding for Our Future as His Holy Spirit combines spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
- Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also “speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words, (1 Corinthians 2:12).
How do we respond to Him Who Gives an Understanding for the Future?
The truth is, life is hard, and if we are striving to find purpose solely in this temporal life, then we are sure to live in disappointment and misery.
But the truth also is, it’s easy to lose sight of our true purpose amidst the troubles of today; troubles that threaten to swallow an Understanding for Our Future.
And the truth is, apart from His Word, we will not have any Understanding about our purpose or Our Future.
We must seriously take to heart the warfare the angel Gabriel endured to bring Daniel the message from God. The enemy will do everything in his power to keep us from coming to His God-Breathed Word, dangling substitutes and tempting us to satisfy our thirst for Truth with the musings of mere man, even those of knowledgeable, godly men.
Devotionals can definitely be helpful and encouraging, but it is in His Holy Scriptures, illumined by His Holy Spirit that He Gives an Understanding for Our Future.
The unfolding of Your words gives light;
It gives understanding to the simple, (Psalm 119:130).
And as we are made to Understand in “what is inscribed in the writing of truth,” we will be enabled to live by faith and thus prepared for today, and for Our Future.
“All this,” said David, “the Lord made me understand in writing by His hand upon me, all the details of this pattern.” (1 Chronicles 28:19).
Again, let us learn from Daniel, who humbly disciplined himself in order to be in the place to receive a revelation from God. Because the truth is, setting aside time to be in His Word requires humility and discipline. Humility in acknowledging our desperate need for what He alone can Give, and discipline to intentionally set aside the time to seek Him.
Oh, let us nourish ourselves on the words of faith and sound doctrine that we would discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness through knowing His Truth, so that we would humbly find ourselves in the place that invites the Presence of Him Who Gives an Understanding for Our Future.
In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. 7 But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; 8 for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come, (1 Timothy 4:6-8).